The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault
Translation by Liedewy Hawke
Pages: 108 Published: 2014
The book: Bilodo, a 27-year-old mail carrier in Montreal, lives vicariously by secretly opening and reading some of the letters he delivers. He becomes entranced by the correspondence between a poet in Montreal and a woman in Guadeloupe who writes haiku verse. Her letters become his obsession. How far will Bilodo take this obsession? Wanting to know keeps you turning the pages.
You might like it because: It’s an elegantly written story that draws us into the sometimes comic, beautiful and tragic life of Bilodo. Along the way we learn a little about the art of writing haiku.
What did other people say?
“Quirky and charming with well-executed denouement, this novella brings to mind nothing less than a giddy-lovesick Kafka.” – The Guardian (U.K)
“A lost-and-found gem with all the makings of a hit.” – The Independent (U.K)
Awards & Acclaim: A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice
How quickly will you get into the book? I found the first two chapters slow but from chapter three I was hooked.
Why might you not like it? As the plot develops the writing takes on a more metaphysical tone. So if you like your fiction grounded in the real world and don’t like dealing with the abstract, then you may well become disenchanted as the story line progresses.
What might you read next?
If you want to go all out on the metaphysical then read Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.
If you like your fiction grounded in reality and would like to remain in Quebec, then try Willa Cather’s Shadows On The Rock.
Or, if you want to stick with a postal theme, try 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.