Lit­er­ary gi­ant

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE -

Montgomery’s aunt and un­cle, Bud and Vi­vian Green Gables.

My take­away from this visit was that, as with over­sized ev­ery­day ob­jects, there’s a mar­ket in lit­er­ary tourism.

Which got me think­ing of my own town here in Stanstead. We need some­thing to draw tourists off the high­way. Sure, we have the Stone Cir­cle, but that’s es­sen­tially a minia­ture ver­sion of Stone­henge, and no one wants to see small ver­sions of nor­mal-sized things; just ask my old girl­friends. (BA-DUM-TISHHH!)

What we need in Stanstead is some­thing big, both phys­i­cally and cul­tur­ally, some­thing beloved yet awe-in­spir­ing, fa­mous yet ap­proach­able, im­pos­ing but cud­dly.

Stanstead should con­struct a gi­ant Louise Penny.

The award-win­ning mys­tery writer is big in­ter­na­tion­ally, so why not make her big in Stanstead? Plus, Louise Penny has built her fame around nov­els set in a fic­tion­al­ized East­ern Town­ships, there­fore it’s only fair that the real East­ern Town­ships should build some fame around a fic­tion­al­ized Louise Penny.

I know what you’re think­ing: “When are sock garters go­ing to make a come­back?” But I bet you’re also think­ing that Penny’s In­spec­tor Ga­mache mys­ter­ies are set in a fic­tion­al­ized Knowl­ton area, nowhere near Stanstead. I’m sorry, but Knowl­ton al­ready has the real Louise Penny and the Louise Penny tourist maps and the adorable ducks and an ac­tual, le­git­i­mate book store! DOES KNOWL­TON HAVE TO HAVE EV­ERY­THING?

I apol­o­gize for the out­burst. I’m con­fi­dent that this would never hap­pen if I had the calm­ing pres­ence of a gi­ant Louise Penny nearby, which, un­like the nor­mal-sized Louise Penny, would be im­per­vi­ous to cold and crit­ics.

We could erect our gi­ant Louise Penny – the World’s Largest Louise Penny! – right next to the Amer­i­can bor­der, the au­thor’s eyes fixed res­o­lutely on U.S. mar­kets and ac­claim, which are the only mar­kets and ac­claim that mat­ter.

But let’s not get too po­lit­i­cal about this. The point is that it’s a gi­ant Louise Penny for all to en­joy. Chil­dren could climb on Louise Penny, which, as with lob­ster, they should not be al­lowed to do in real life.

Be­cause this will be the World’s Largest Louise Penny (and we want it to stay that way), it will have to be re­ally, re­ally big, so big that peo­ple could go inside Louise Penny. Imag­ine a door­way in Louise Penny’s shin lead­ing to a stair­case up to her ab­domen. Ob­vi­ously there’d be a book store there, a café serv­ing bis­cotti and Ga­mache goulash, and of course a team of de­tec­tives on call 24/7.

Up a fur­ther set of stairs, tourists could wit­ness a mur­der scene in Louise Penny’s neck, daily at 1 and 3:30 p.m. For an ex­tra fee, you could stand on top of Louise Penny’s head to scan the land­scape – the lit­er­ary land­scape, if you will, though you prob­a­bly won’t.

The gift shop would do brisk busi­ness sell­ing penny candy, penny loafers, Louise Penny pens. Who-donuts. T-shirt that read, “I Climbed to the Top of Louise Penny and All I Got Was This Lousy Deu­sex-machina.”

In­trigu­ingly, it would be easy to get into Louise Penny, but how to get out? A bit of a mys­tery.

Peo­ple pulling off the high­way to take pic­tures of Louise Penny, fam­i­lies pic­nick­ing in the shade of Louise Penny, overnighters stay­ing at the Dead Cold Mo­tel be­side Louise Penny – ah, yes, a gi­ant Louise Penny is ex­actly what Stanstead needs.

Either that or an in­flat­able Don­ald Suther­land.

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