This came up on my Goodreads Twitter feed today: If you were transported to the setting of the book you are currently reading, where would you be?
Ever since I started reading the Canadian author Louise Penny’s Gamache series I’ve wanted to live in her fictional setting of Three Pines, Canada. I know what it looks like in my imagination. I go there often. I know where every single structure is located. I can find my way around the village green blindfolded. Mostly I think of it as a place of serenity and coziness, but that’s weird because the community has a very high murder rate! (Watch out if she introduces a new character. He/she is a goner.)
I have chosen my seat at the Bistro. It’s in one of those four upholstered chairs by the huge fireplace. A bowl of soup, a chunk of bread, a hunk of cheese and a good book are required. Oh, and wine. Red wine. I will have chosen my book at Myrna’s book store.
I got the “Barnes and Noble Special Edition” of Penny’s most recent book and started it today. The edition is “special,” the cover sticker said, because there is a map of Three Pines included.
But whose map is it? It doesn’t depict MY Three Pines. My Three Pines has a different layout. I know how to get from Clara’s house to Ruth’s house in my mind. But the Special Edition map has placed houses and shops where they don’t belong. The church must have been relocated in a tornado. I try to unsee the map inside the front cover, but it’s stuck in my head. Like when my sister sent me a gross video of a skin cyst exploding. Can’t unsee THAT!
I had the main character, Armando Gamache, pictured in my head. Then somebody went and made a movie of the first book in the series, “Still Life.” They didn’t consult with me before casting Gamache and got it all wrong. I’m fighting that image, too.
Perhaps I’ve gotten way too involved with Penny’s characters and setting. I have feelings for and about them. When I’m reading her books I transport myself to Three Pines. MY Three Pines, not the publisher’s vision of the old village on the banks of the Bella Bella River. I love how some books suck me in so I feel transported to another place. I just wish the publishers and casting people wouldn’t mess with my head.