(I bought my copy during The Nature of the Beast's book launch in Vancouver, BC)
Book blurb: Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. From alien invasions, to walking trees, to winged beasts in the woods, to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. Including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, who now live in the little Quebec village.
But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true.
And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an odd crime, leads to an old betrayal. Leads right to the door of an old poet.
And now it is now, writes Ruth Zardo. And the dark thing is here.A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, Ruth knows, it is back.
Armand Gamache, the former head of homicide for the Surete du Quebec, must face the possibility that, in not believing the boy, he himself has played a terrible part in what happens next.
Reine-Marie 'saw...a pretty, but dull backwater. While [Armand] saw a shore. A place where the shipwrecked could finally rest.' (p. 89)Chapter 3
Clara: ' "It's as though I've never painted in my life. Oh, God, suppose I can't?" ' (p. 26)
How may artists have wondered, mumbled or uttered this sentence? I know I have.
Reine-Marie: ' "Do you think a work should be judged by its creator? Or should it stand on its own?" ' (p. 30)
Armand: ' "The creator and the created are one." ' (p. 31)
Leanne: Are the criminally insane the only one who twist reality and spread hatred through words? Should there be controls on who can create art, on who can write? And, if so, who judges? What guidelines do they use?
How can Gamache condemn a play he hasn't even read?
Do you recall the book The Last Temptation of Christ? Some Christians strongly objected the author's humanizing Jesus Christ. A friend of mine did. And she planned to join the public protest. When I asked if she had read the book, she said, "No!"
I think it's dangerous to be so closed minded to art. Art is meant to provoke.
This is one of the richest chapters.
Beautiful language: 'The leaves overhead were changing, and with the bright sun on them it felt like they were walking under a massive stained-glass dome.' (p. 63)
Fine touches of humor: 'She looked like an escape from a Dr. Seuss book. On the lam from green eggs and ham.' (p. 64)
Thought provoking: '[T]hey...knew that words were weapons too, and when fashioned into a story their power was almost limitless.' (p. 117)
Excellent brief character sketches of minor characters: 'The woman's hair was obviously dyed at home, and due for another treatment. And the man's hair was combed over, in an attempt to hide what could not be hidden.' (p. 111)
The transition of another character entering a scene is handled too lightly for me--forcing me to re-read that section. 'she led them inside just as Beauvoir arrived' (p. 112) How did he arrive? What was he wearing? More description would help to strengthen the transition.
Armand: ' "As a play? It's not bad at all. In fact, Annoinette was right. It's brilliant." ' (p. 129)
Louise Penny isn't scared of the fractured sentence. In fact, she seems to embrace them. For example: 'She hide nothing. Not wrinkles, not flawed eyesight, not even the hole in her pantyhose.' (p. 210) An em-dash could transform the two sentences into one complete sentence. She hides nothing--not wrinkles, not flawed eyesight, not even the hole in her pantyhose.
Sometimes a character is called 'Evie', other times 'Evelyn'. There is no apparent reason for the change and it creates confusion.
The reader certainly gets her money's worth--there are mysteries within mysteries within mysteries.
Picture Books in Canada
The Acorn Press takes as its particular goal and mandate to help encourage the flourishing literary culture of Prince Edward Island by publishing "Books about Prince Edward Island by Prince Edward Islanders." -from the website