The Bistro

The Bistro

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Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

It was so nice to see so many people who were familiar with the museum and have fond memories of growing up around there. I think I’ll have to drop back in often…

Julie, just some broad strokes of observations you made cause I really need some sleep
1. I too didn’t see the ‘envy’ in the eyes of the woman of the painting Louise chose. Loved your comment tho. Bottom of page 22?

2. I too don’t care much for the new kind of ‘fantasy’ films coming out. But Into The Woods is not like that at all. Here’s a YouTube link to the song ‘Agony’ I mentioned my sons sang. In the stage and film, both Conderella and Rapunzel’s princes are brothers. It’s funny and beautifully filmed. Enjoy. And good night. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wrggORKra2k

Conderella? Right! I’m tired but still. Cinderella. Sheesh! I do wish sometimes that we could go back and edit. LOL

Hahaha – you had me wondering who Conderella was! Other times, my brain can make that jump to fill in what you meant, but for some reason I’ve got nothing but cotton-candy up there this morning… I will go and listen and look for the movie…

Meanwhile, one more bit on the article about readers… I have a website I visit daily on Jane Austen, populated by writers of fan fiction. Every day, one of them writes a “scene left out” of one of JA’s books. They take those moments left for us to fill in and fill them in. Sometimes, they are fun, and sometimes, I don’t like to have it filled in for me, as I was thinking something altogether different!

Gotta go see a Real Place now…

According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd, at the New School for Social Research, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.”

This Millie! The characters actually need to have room to be completed by the readers so the reader can be part of the story, filling in the detail and creating the character for themselves in a way.

That was what I was referring to in the article that I thought Louise (and you) do so well. If I knew everything about Lily she wouldn’t intrigue me as much as she does. And Mattie, too. And the entire Cove! Like we are always wanting to know more about characters in Louise’s books. I’m thrilled we get to know more about Ruth soon. All we really know is she arrived young, was married and he died and writes poetry. Yet we adore her! Talk about broad strokes.

I agree Julie. I thought we Three Piners could identify… And that’s the whole point. As readers we don’t start out a discussion with everyone thinking the same way but we can accept different points of view graciously while holding on to our own. And in the process, we all gain tremendously, not only in the understanding of the book, but also of those whom we encounter in ‘real life’.

Millie – that’s a brilliant article. It helps to articulate something I’ve discovered about the Jane Austen society and fringe groups that I belong to: Readers are readily willing to accept a world constructed by someone else, and actually want to go live there! Those who want to live in Three Pines are so close to my heart. And so are those who want to live in Pemberly! 😀

The Power of the Bistro
Barbara, I got a few hours sleep. I must say I laughed when I read you live in the ‘Deep South’, Georgia. I always joke with my husband that we life too far South to be really Southern. You have to go to really Northern Florida to be ‘Southern’. 😉

And, I must confess, I shed quite a few tears of relief that you’d be interested in my story. Not to press the point of Easter being a time of rebirth and renewal (at least for the Northern Hemisphere), but your words, along with those of Cathryne and Anna, left me feeling as though I had ‘died and gone to heaven’. I really am floating on the proverbial cloud nine.

I feel complete. My greatest dream was to be a mommy (now doubled since I’m also a Nana), I have a husband who is my knight in shining armoire and has been since the day we met in our mid 20’s – is there any doubt why I love the Medieval period… 🙂 And now to find my general premise is applauded, not ridiculed, is such a relief. Such a joy. The rest is ‘just’ putting words on paper. Not that I want to hurry the process in any way, but IF I were to pass away tomorrow, I would have no regrets. How many people can honestly say that?

The ‘Bistro’ truly is a magical place – a place where kindness exists. How could it be otherwise? We came together because we like Louise’s books. We’ve stayed together because we found we liked each other and our collective supportive nature too much to be separated.

And a big ‘thank you’, Paul for keeping the Bistro alive and the warm fire glowing. I echo Anna’s feeling, ‘bet you never imagined how many lives this place would touch in such positive ways…’

Knight in shining armoire……Husband in a wardrobe. Rolling on the floor laughing Millie! Erin says brilliant….he must be from Narnia!!

Sorry….wasn’t being insensitive. I love your comment. I only spotted that when I was re reading and it created such a delightful image. Somehow even more appealing than armour!

Not insensitive at all. After I reread my own post I realized my oops. That’s what I get for allowing the auto fill options to finish typing out what it thinks I meant to say. I just rolled my eyes. Hadn’t thought of Narnia, tho. Tell Erin she’s brilliant. Love her sense of humor. (PS: in the US it’s spelled without the ‘u’, just to complicate things. 🙂

Hi Gigi and Welcome to The Bistro. Sorry to be so long posting to you. This week has been too busy for my tastes so I write only quick little blurbs.
I would like to meet Louise Penny but doubt that I will unless she comes here to the Deep South, Georgia. Atlanta maybe someday. I started reading her books when I saw a review on Still Life when it was first published. I feel very fortunate about that. When the reread of the books was announced last Spring, I thought it an interesting idea. I was very hesitant to post as I didn’t think anything I wrote would be worthwhile. Everyone made me so welcome that I lost my fear. The only time I had ever participated in a discussion online was when Barnes and Noble had a wonderful site some years ago.
I’m so glad I plunged in. Then The Bistro was set up following the reread so we can stay in touch while waiting for the next book.
I look forward to reading more posts from you. I love Canada but have only visited Ontario Province a few times with organizations my husband and I belong to.

Anna, a Platypus. How cute. I remember learning about the duckbilled platypus as a young child. I couldn’t wait to share the new found and astounding news with one and all. My family, bless them, all reacted with great enthusiasm if I remember correctly. Any chocolate Roos ?

Good point, Anna. The main female character knows since childhood of an ancestral tie but just starts to find out more about who and his importance to the family and their riches as the story unfolds. And there are a lot of greedy people she comes across. Who can she really trust?

Ok folks, this little bird may spread her wings yet. Baby flaps do turn into soaring effortlessly with thermals under the wings. I just have to keep believing that someone other than me might find it interesting after all.

Millie, Really , The Medieval Era, a little known pope, a mystery also. How wonderful……You’re going to write a book just for me! I can totally see people wanting to read it. I have friends who, like me, will enjoy reading that combination. No pressure intended but I’m ready when you are.

I think writing a character “based upon” someone is perfectly legit. This is fiction, not a biography after all. I do understand the need for authenticity but I have found that you have to be careful not to ignore your imagination! Spread your wings and borrow what you need from the period and invent the rest, that is what imagination is for after all.

I got very bogged down at times by my desire to be authentic. Then I started to treat the process like painting or drawing. You don’t need to sketch in every detail, broad strokes, shadows and suggestion leave so much more room for the reader to fill in the detail and thus become part of the story themselves.

Maybe paint your medieval characters with broader strokes, hint at the richness and detail and let everyone’s imagination out to play??

It’s one of those nights that sleep just wasn’t happening so I just got up, spent about 20 minutes trying to calm my mind (I was way out of my comfort zone saying anything about my ‘novel’) with the repetive and soothing motions of weaving till I calmed down hoping my post would go unnoticed being a holiday but thought I’d check here before laying back down for another go at sleep…

I think I know now a little of what Anna was feeling. But in my case it’s more like, “You like the concept? Really? Oh. My. Gosh.”

Cathryne, your comments stayed in place and thank you! I never would have thought of asking a grad student to translate it. And my younger son and his wife may be able to help me find one and the University of Central Florida where they still have friends.

Anna, thank you for asking just the right question – spice? Knowing more about that particular Pope is the the ‘spice’ I’m missing. My mom attended a big family gathering years ago in CA & I knew a Spanish history professor would be attending so I asked her to inquire if he knew anything about this Pope and tell him why. His reply was, “So little is known about him that your daughter could just make anything up.” Humm… Yes, I plan to ‘make things up, like him being an ancestor of my character, but making it all up? That seemed like cheating too much. I wanted something to be based on facts! And I, too, love the Medieval period.

Fitting that I took a chance on ‘Easter’ to reveal something about my idea: when rebirth is celebrated.

Thank you both, more than you’ll ever know!

I do for one. You have me intrigued. The Popes are such a fascinating bunch, like all kinds of royalty there is buckets of intrigue. And I love the medieval period. Right Millie, I am now waiting!

Both above for Millie. I forgot to use your name. I hope things stay in place so the comments make some sense!

I’m already interested! Sounds like a fascinating idea. Keep translating. How about the services of a doctoral student who needs to earn some money? Must be someone around who could help. Our next door neighbor is in poor health now, but he used to be a fine translator.

Oh Anna, you make me giggle. And look forward to when my granddaughters are old enough to hunt for Easter Eggs. Maybe next year?

As for a missing spice… I can think of a major one. Finish transferring all my files from my (very) old PC to my shiny ‘new’ Mac and learning my way around the fruit of temptation without being tempted to play with all the neat apps on it? But then, maybe I just need time to play with my not so new anymore ‘toy’. ‘Life’ keeps interrupting my play time, though. I didn’t learn my way around a PC in one sitting. Haven’t found those photos of my bookcases yet either. Switching hasn’t been the piece of cake I thought it would be, but I found a book called Switching from PC to Mac that’s helping. My sons tease me constantly, “Mom has a book for that!”
Then I need to slog through a book in excruciatingly formal Spanish to mine for bits of info about a 15th century Pope of whom very little has been written but whose story I personally want to know more… Only I need to sit with a fat dictionary to get through each sentence. I find it frustrating when I read the definition and think, “well why didn’t you just say so!” LOL… Granted, my vocabulary in Spanish has shrunk in the last 40 years but this author maxed out my mom’s excellent vocabulary by the second paragraph. I wish it was in Kindle format so I could more easily look up definitions but it took me years to find it and had to order it from Spain. I’ll get through it though. Eventually.

See, in my mind, this 15th Century ‘Pope’ is an ancestor of the main female character and she’s discovering the ‘why’ of many of her family’s peculiar traditions along with the ‘why’ someone is trying to kill her…

But my biggest worry is WHO would care about a 15thC Pope (who is glossed over even by the Catholic Church), who happened to be born in Spain, other than ME? It’s not a book about religion, but about mysteries & intrigues and betrayals and mistrust. And it’s a story about loosing faith and faithfulness and love and trust and never giving up, but sometimes learning to let go of the past – of what no longer serves you and finding life does go on. And it’s a story about believing in oneself, set in present day time…

There. That’s the most I’ve EVER told anyone about the story in my mind.

Millie – this sounds fascinating! You have to keep going. I think lots of people will be interested in this pope when you “flesh him out”. Think how many people were interested in a nut who was looking for the body of Champlain? Turns out that character was fictional, though based on a real person who died not so long ago, never having found the burial place, unfortunately…

For the Miss Fisher enthusiasts:

About the TV show



About the author and the books. Note the comments about why Miss Fisher wouldn’t get to be a TV or movie series, this interview predates the TV series. The expense is quoted. Is was very expensive, in Australian terms, to bring Miss Fisher to TV as they made such an effort to be authentic.


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