Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Still Life

I’ve just finished Still Life, the first of Louise Penny’s series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. It is beautifully crafted, and life-affirming. All the clues to the identity of the killer are there—no rabbits are pulled out of a hat at the end—yet so well-written you may well not arrive there ahead of time.

However, the identity of the murderer is perhaps the least interesting part of the story. Far better, this is a story about us: about how we are all flawed judges of character; how we all have blind-spots when it comes to ourselves, and others; how we are all unreliable witnesses. These are truths worth knowing. Indeed, it is perhaps impossible to be truly life-affirming until we discover them.

Recognising that he is not exempt from this, Gamache employs, and offers, four simple sentences to navigate such terrain:

“I’m sorry.”
“I don’t know.”
“I need help.”
“I was wrong.”

In this way, there is hope and not despair.

Penny is an insightful writer. I’m looking forward to reading more. Thank you to Sean Gladding for the introduction.

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