Saturday, 8 November 2008

Dead Cold by Louise Penny - 'good' people and the Christmas season - an appreciation

Louise Penny in ‘Dead Cold’ has written about two things that have particularly grabbed me. (She has, of course, written about more than two things in the book…) This is the first of her books I’ve read, but definitely is not the last. It’s a pity I picked this one up first and not the one before, but I shall now seek out that one to read as well – and I can tell you that’s unusual for me – if I find I’ve read say, number two in a series, I seldom bother to read number one. In fact, I’ve never understood these series where they go back in time to BEFORE the novels already written – this seems to happen quite often with fantasy. But I digress…

The first thing is how LP writes ‘good’ people – they are such incredibly good people – and now I want to meet them. For example, Clara Morrow and Armand Gamache are now people I know I would enjoy meeting. The important thing, though, is that they are written in such a way that I do want to meet them rather than throttle them.

So often ‘good’ people are written in such a way that they are the last people you’d want to meet because you know you’ll just slap them or sulk or something. But LP’s good people are amazingly appealing.

The other thing is the way she writes about the snow and the environment and the Christmas season. She’s given me back the magic of it. Like Clara and the village in the window is an image she has in her mind of the way she wanted things to be, the image of the season that Louise Penny has written is the image of what I want the season to be – and it hasn’t, for so long. It’s about families and real goodwill and cheer and warmth and wassail and all that. Wassail as in celebrate noisily, not just the punch…

This is a lovely book with some lovely people in it and I've enjoyed painting Christmas scenes whilst this book has been on the go. I've got out my Christmas music CDs now, thanks to this book, so they'll keep being played until January now. That's fine by me!

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