The Wisdom of Armand Gamache: Still Life

The Wisdom of Armand Gamache: Still Life

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In Still Life, Louise Penny introduces Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec for the very first time. If it’s been awhile since you’ve read the first book in the series, we invite you to refresh your memory of the novel with our Re-Read lead by Lesa Holstine. You can also learn more about the real-life inspirations behind the settings and cultural references in the book, try a recipe the characters enjoy in Still Life, and explore more of all things Still Life here at GamacheSeries.com.

“They are four sentences we learn to say, and mean.” Gamache held up his hand as a fist and raised a finger with each point. “I don’t know. I need help. I’m sorry. I was wrong.” Is there a set of rules you live by? Let us know in the comments!

124 replies on “The Wisdom of Armand Gamache: Still Life”

Thank you so much Louise Penny for creating Armand Gamache. I have loved reading all of your books!
Barbara Holman – I enjoyed your comment!
Catherine in Barrie, Ontario

It seems so long ago when I read my very first Gamache book, Still Life. I use his wisdom in my every day life. Just 4 simple statements, but oh so powerful. I think I use them more now since my husband passed away as they are so relevant in my life right now. It’s not a sign of weakness to say any of them, but of strength Just 4 simple statements. “I don’t know.” “I need help.” “I’m sorry.” and “I was wrong.”

Love all your comments. Love the fascinating characters around Gamach. Love Gamach and the learning.

Remember the words you say, to keep them soft and sweet. You never know from day to day, which ones you will have to eat.

The able to have empathy for others is being a good human. Teaching I learned that no one knows what other people face in their lives. Treating people with dignity lets you uncover who they are. You can always find something positive to say to someone. In the Little Prince, he talked about being tamed by the fox so they were good friends. It takes time to get to know someone. It only happens if they trust you.

Posting a Gamache “wisdom” from each book is such a wonderful idea. I’m often trying to remember his exact quotable words when in conversations with others and usually can’t remember his exact words. Having them here is a great tool to have to stimulate my flagging memory!

My Dad always told us “never give up” and honor and commitment were his golden rules. My Mother had lots of wisdom and sayings such as “a leopard never changes his spots” be careful who you trust; “smile at your enemies it will drive them crazy” in otherwords don’t let others upset you or anger you be brave; Armand Gamache to me is a combination of my Mother and Father but he also shows humility and love for his colleagues and friends. He’s not a tough guy in appearance but tough all the same with Isabel and Jean Guy and with the cast of characters in three pines. Everything he goes thru makes him stronger and more endearing to the people that work with him, his family and friends. Not only that the other characters in the book also have come to life by the words and descriptions of how Louise Penny has brought them to life in the pages of her books.

Inspector Gamache’s humility, honesty, and respect for human dignity make him the greatest literary detective of all time. He is as brilliant as a Poirot or Holmes and as knowledgeable of the human mind, heart, and psyche. But he lacks the hubris of other brilliant detectives, which is his greatest strength.

Yes, I think Gamache is a very original character, a brilliant detective without the ego and machismo of other well-known brilliant male detectives, such as Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, or Morse.

Well stated. Having read and/or listened to all 18 books, I feel calm and peaceful after each one of them. We are introduced to Gamache’s moral strength, steadfastness, willingness to train and encourage misfit officers in becoming strong team members, and acceptance without rancor of consequences of his actions and their effect on his professional position.
While there is the challenge of winnowing several individuals as the murderer, there is also the illumination of our actions:
1) Humility and vulnerability — the 4 wisdom statements; 2) Words that hurt: Ruth Zardo’s poem “Who hurt you so bad…,” a deep wound to the heart; 3) Forgiveness — Gamache’s last thought before going to sleep. “Who have I not forgiven?” All are part of the story. All give rise for personal reflection by the reader.
Louise Penny is my favorite mystery author and the Gamache series is outstanding!
Looking forward to these Tuesday posts and reading “The Gray Wolf.”

I have loved all the books in the Gamache series! There is always something to learn, something that makes you think. I have recommended them to many.

Never say to anyone what you would not like to be said to you, because words once spoken can never be unsaid . Words can be caresses or daggers.

My parents taught me to always take responsibility for my actions. Gamache’s 4 statements fit right into this.

You have no idea what it took for that person to be here in this place today. Your smile might be the only one they see today. We are all part of the same family.

Among the many things my mother said was “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Gamache’s 4 sentences are ones of vulnerability. They are particularly unusual coming from a police officer. These are the heart of why his enemies thought he was weak. Embracing them are what makes him strong.

Scheming and dreaming is good…making emotional decisions is bad.

What separates us from lower forms, but mainly zooms us with a fire-in-the-belly motivation, is our sense of Wonder.
Pursue it recklessly – down every rabbit hole, to the edge of the Universe.

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