Ongoing readers know that I am fascinated with Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache novels. While I am, of course, grateful for the deep enjoyment found in the16 books in this series, I am also taken with specific elements of Louise Penny’s writing, such as,
- Her respect for and admiration of Leonard Cohen (which I share): “I cannot imagine the light that flows into that man” Louise Penny, Author Of How The Light Gets In, On Leonard Cohen
- The pragmatic guidelines offered by her fictional protagonist: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache’s “Four Things That Lead To Wisdom” and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache’s Three Questions To Ask Before Speaking.
In reading the most recently published Inspector Gamache novel, All the Devils Are Here, I have discovered yet another reason to appreciate Louise Penny. The following excerpt is from the Acknowledgements:
It is impressive that a serious novelist, recognizing that her earlier description of a character would be problematic when he reappeared in a later volume, decided to present a reconfigured (“Children erased”) Horowitz 2.0 rather than force the reader to endure the pages of prose that might be required to explain away those damn kids. And then simply acknowledge the discrepancy.
The principle underlying this tactic was expressed, albeit on a grander scale, by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Self-Reliance:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.
Or, as George Lucas told Dave Filoni, his supervising director of The Clone Wars
Continuity is for wimps