Book Reviews

Book Review; “Still Life” by Louise Penny copyright 2005

      Louise Penny has been suggested to me more that once by my sister. Her latest promotion included a positive comment from her husband. If a former submariner and builder of power plants feels that the author is worth the read I guess it’s good enough for me. Image

      I started with “Still Life”, the first of the Chief Inspector Gamache series.

     Set in a small town in Quebec, within driving distance of Montreal. Three Pines, is a village with a base of founding families and now has become a mecca for people looking to escape “big city” bias and the problems of a larger population.

     The author never says it but, it seems that Three Pines has become a “artist colony” and has quite an eclectic population. Diversity in a small town is very different from diversity in a metropolitan area. Just not as many people to blend with.

      I noticed while reading that when questioned the non-native Three Pines population all prefaced their answers with “ I or we’ve only lived here 10 years or I only moved here 5 years ago”. In a small community seniority really does matter. Although the town will accept new members the older families play a special part in the town activities. Three Pines was not a vacation town but it did have tourists or hunters that would come into town at different times of years. The outsiders were tolerated but not encouraged. I like the interactions of the characters of Three Pines. Louise Penny creates a believable community with all the different personalities it takes to make up any town or city.

      I also liked the banter between Inspector Gamache and his wife. It reminded me of my own wife and myself. I even interrupted by wife to read to her from the book some of the dialog between the two characters. Louise Penny allows  the reader to become comfortable with her characters.

      The one difficulty, for me, is the story being located in a bilingual area, many of the names, vocabulary, and descriptions are in French. My formative years did not include a lot of diversity, therefore, I have a hard time with reading and pronouncing the names and sayings that are French. I’m getting better and with technology as close as my phone, a French/English dictionary is only a reach away. In my own way this book helps me become more global.

      Anyway, I will be looking for the next in line for Inspector Gamache, Thanks Jacque.

      Next up, I’ve gone a different direction, “Hard Country” by Michael McGarrity. A cowboy story of the old west. I like cowboys and stories set in the Southwestern United States. In the review I’ll tell you how I came upon the book, but until then we will see how it goes.

Until next time, read for enjoyment.


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