20 May 2015

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

The blurb: Bilodo lives a solitary life, routinely completing his post round every day and returning to his empty Montreal apartment. But he has found a way to break the monotonous cycle: he has taken to intercepting people’s post, steaming open the envelopes and reading the letters inside. And so it is that he comes across Ségolène’s letters. She is corresponding Gaston, a master poet, and their letters are composed of haiku. Moved by the simplicity and elegance of the language, Bilodo begins to fall in love with her. But when tragedy strikes unexpectedly one day, Bilodo is faced with the prospect of being deprived of the one fulfilling part of his life. Confronted with the awful possibility of losing his beloved’s poetry for ever, to what lengths will he go to protect his obsession? Thériault’s haunting writing vividly conjures up the reality of one man’s life and fate, with all its tragic, comic and beautiful moments.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Something I’ve learned from reading this little book and then having a quick browse through some Goodreads reviews, is that I’m more likely than others to appreciate a story as just exactly that. A common theme in the reviews I read was isn’t it a bit weird, a postman who opens other people’s letters even though it’s illegal? I don’t understand why anyone would do that?’ Definitely a little creepy, but that aside, what you have is a quirky little tale about a person who is very lonely in the world, with apparently only one fairly mean person to call his friend, and does what he can to make life more interesting, right or wrong.

It’s a very slim book and a fairly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. I thought it was beautifully written with lovely descriptions, and full of interesting snippets about haikus and their history as an art form. Bilodo is a pretty likeable character despite his questionable motives, but I think because there is hardly any speech in the book, it was hard to get a full grasp on any of the characters. There isn’t much to say about the plot without giving away the little twist near the end, but suffice to say that the book’s conclusion, and the way it tied in with the ongoing theme of life coming full circle, left me with more questions than it answered. Having said that, I thought it was a clever way to end the story. If you’ve read it, you will know what I mean! Other than that, I thought it was an enjoyable story about an obsession gone a little bit too far.

I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either – hence the 3 stars! Maybe give this a go if you’re looking for a shorter read between books, or something a little bit different.
Too long, didn't read? Here's my Goodreads review:

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely PostmanThe Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A quirky tale about a lonely postman trying to bring some meaning to his routine life. Not groundbreaking, but a gentle and enjoyable read with likeable characters and an interesting theme.

View all my reviews

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