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Old 11-17-2020, 02:10 PM   #16
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there is no point trying to compare this to the work of Agatha Christie.
Why not? Would that be a mandate, if you'd had your way? I love comparing apples and oranges. It's a necessity, an urge, totally rational, and useful to those that are compelled to compare.
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Old 11-17-2020, 08:44 PM   #17
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Mandate? No. But the exercise feels pointless to me because I found the two quite different to read (both quintessentially their own place and time), and so liking or disliking one is not going to be an indicator for liking or disliking the other - which seems to me to be the main/most-useful reason for making such comparisons.
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Old 11-17-2020, 08:56 PM   #18
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I had to stop reading the series after the books pivoted away from Three Pines, with Gamache taking on ...lately, the entire French government. And winning ....

Ruth Zardo is one of the greatest characters ever created, IMHO. And the use of Margaret Atwood's poetry is stunning.
Agree 1000% on Zardo and thanks for the heads up about Penny's latest. I bought it, but have been humming and hawwing about reading it, since her last few have been more miss than hit for me, MUCH more in the case of a couple. I'd hoped the move to Paris might have been a refreshing change, but apparently la plus ça change... Sounds like I can let the Devils live where they may, without disturbing them.
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:39 AM   #19
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Mandate? No. But the exercise feels pointless to me because I found the two quite different to read (both quintessentially their own place and time), and so liking or disliking one is not going to be an indicator for liking or disliking the other - which seems to me to be the main/most-useful reason for making such comparisons.
Liking Godfather II is not an indicator for liking or disliking III. What you said can be applied to anything. I have somewhere a long list of how the book, LoTR is just a clone of The Hobbit, and the similarities are very convincing, making both books in their underlying stage, as derivative as one Dickens novel is to another. If I had completed Gamache, I would have been able to point out the similarities. But even that's not the point, though it needed to be said to address your POV. What's the common familiarity between one work of art and another is the way your brain reacts to it, and that is the foundation for my comparing different books, movie, songs etc. E.g, I am able to say that my top three works of art are 1. One Piece, 2. Harry Potter, and 3. The Beatles. I am able to do that because of the way my mind reacts to them. I don't mind others voicing their preferences, more power to you, but please don't generalize and make it a natural way of viewing the world.
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:12 AM   #20
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LoTR is just a clone of The Hobbit, and the similarities are very convincing, making both books in their underlying stage, as derivative as one Dickens novel is to another.


Of course LotR and the Hobbit are very similar, they're by the same author and the similarities are intentional. and commented on at length BY the author himself. That's NOT comparing apples to oranges, and is not a valid argument in defence of comparing dissimilar works like those of Penny and Christie
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:42 AM   #21
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My intent with this example was to show that there's more that meets the eye in these books, just as it is between apple and orange books. Many readers who have read the interviews of Tolkien himself don't know to what depth the two books are similar. This bizarrely pounced upon quote doesn't negate my opinion that one can compare books from different authors. I compare all of the time. Does that makes my comparison invalid? Why?
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:22 AM   #22
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As I said, no mandate from me. Even my "point trying to compare" is a comparison of sorts.
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Old 11-18-2020, 09:05 AM   #23
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I know I invoked Stars Hollow, but it sounds as if Cabot Cove also applies.
So does St. Mary Mead, Kembleford, and Saint-Marie.
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:12 AM   #24
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So does St. Mary Mead, Kembleford, and Saint-Marie.
I did think of St. Mary Mead, but I had to look up the other two. I saw the first season of Father Brown and liked it very much indeed, but didn’t remember the name of the village. I must say that this tv iteration of Father Brown has nothing in common with the Chesterton original. Even on looking up Saint-Marie, I’ve never heard of the show, but I think the New Englandy aspect of Stars Hollow and Cabot Cove are probably closer to the feel of Three Pines than the Caribbean, even if the body count is similar.
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:58 AM   #25
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I did think of St. Mary Mead, but I had to look up the other two. I saw the first season of Father Brown and liked it very much indeed, but didn’t remember the name of the village. I must say that this tv iteration of Father Brown has nothing in common with the Chesterton original. Even on looking up Saint-Marie, I’ve never heard of the show, but I think the New Englandy aspect of Stars Hollow and Cabot Cove are probably closer to the feel of Three Pines than the Caribbean, even if the body count is similar.
Lake Eden is yet another small place where too many murders take place. The problem is that you have to take each book on its own or they become rather unbelievable that so many murders take place in small towns.

One more small town is Lochdubh.
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:44 PM   #26
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I found the book tiresome. As a mystery it never seemed to catch fire for me.
There was a clever use of an Mathew 10:36 as a kind of recurring theme and Gamache was a reasonably interesting character. But that was about it for me.
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Old 11-19-2020, 05:18 PM   #27
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I just finished the book. I’m sorry I didn’t join the discussion earlier. I started reading late, and have been avoiding the thread, in case it held spoilers. As it happens, it doesn’t, and I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s take on it. Quite divergent opinions.

I enjoyed the book, primarily because I liked Garmache as a leading character, and enjoyed seeing his regular team in action. Plus, I found the mystery interesting, though guessed a few things ahead of time. I thought it was well crafted. I also really enjoyed the little references to Québécois food and culture.

That said, I would have dropped this book part way through the first chapter, if not for the bookclub. I found the writing painful and distracting. It was overwritten, and seemed like an unedited first draft. To me, the setting wasn’t too twee, but the character descriptions and their activities certainly were. Plus there was too much trembling, quivering, and obvious red herrings. I just wanted to grab a pen or give up.

But surprisingly, as soon as Garmache was introduced in the second chapter, the writing became much crisper, and the characters more believable. Instead of wanting to edit, I found myself engaged by the story and kept reading. So I’m pleased I kept going, and will try another book in the series.

I won’t know until I try another book, but I suspect Penny’s inexperience was chiefly to blame for the first chapter. What’s puzzling is that a good editor could easily have helped with revisions.

In terms of other comments, I don’t see the similarity between this book and golden age fiction. The Eastern Townships are next door to Cabot Cove, but I didn’t find that off-putting. However, Three Pines is such a small village, that I can’t see how one could shoehorn another murderer in there, let alone a whole series of them. At least Christie gave herself a whole island to work with, so I’m definitely curious as to how Penny can pull it off

Last edited by Victoria; 11-19-2020 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 11-19-2020, 05:22 PM   #28
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I've not yet finished the book, but even if I wasn't reading for the bookclub, I would have not stopped at chapter 1. I'd have given it at least 3 chapters. So far it's working for me.
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Old 11-19-2020, 05:48 PM   #29
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It's been years since I read this book, so my memories are a bit hazy. It was the first Louise Penny book I had ever read. I thought it was okay, but something put me off Gamache a little bit. I read another in the series, and finally figured out what was bugging me. I'm sure the women here have read many books where the male author wrote female characters that were idealizations of what he desired. In this case, the shoe was on the other foot (I am a male), and I found Gamache to be irritatingly perfect in a way that I imagined a female would desire. He just didn't seem like a real male character to me. So, I didn't read any more books in the series after that. Maybe I didn't like seeing how "wrong" my traits were compared to Gamache's.

I'm not proud of my reaction to the books, but I thought I'd bring it up to see if it generated any discussion here. Maybe something good will come of it.
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:02 PM   #30
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It's been years since I read this book, so my memories are a bit hazy. It was the first Louise Penny book I had ever read. I thought it was okay, but something put me off Gamache a little bit. I read another in the series, and finally figured out what was bugging me. I'm sure the women here have read many books where the male author wrote female characters that were idealizations of what he desired. In this case, the shoe was on the other foot (I am a male), and I found Gamache to be irritatingly perfect in a way that I imagined a female would desire. He just didn't seem like a real male character to me. So, I didn't read any more books in the series after that. Maybe I didn't like seeing how "wrong" my traits were compared to Gamache's.

I'm not proud of my reaction to the books, but I thought I'd bring it up to see if it generated any discussion here. Maybe something good will come of it.
I can see that, as the relationship between Gamache & his 2nd in command was somewhat idealized too.

That said, reading about idealized people & settings can be a pleasure sometimes too. A nice change from politics.
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