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The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault
  

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   Relationship Stories   
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One of our Books of the Year 2014.

Deceptively clever and utterly compelling, this beautifully written little book will continue to haunt your thoughts long after you've finished it. Set in Montreal, the world of Bilodo the postman is a simple one, but he regularly sneaks a peek into other peoples worlds by reading their handwritten letters; events take a darker turn as he deviates from voyeur into an obsessive usurper. The author uses Japanese haiku and tanka poetry to allow Bilodo to converse with the woman of his dreams; exquisite clusters of words will snag your attention and demand that you re-read them. This is essentially a book of love, of what might have been and of what could still come… ~ Liz Robinson

Selected as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club title in September 2014.


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Bilodo is 27 and lives alone; he is a postman in Montreal, a calligrapher in his spare time. Inquisitive, and intrigued by the rare pieces of personal mail he handles, he has taken to steaming open the letters, reading their contents, and then re-sealing them before delivery. When he discovers the curious poetic correspondence of Ségolène and Gaston, their repeated exchanges composed entirely of haiku so captivate Bilodo that his casual interest turns into obsession. When he witnesses Gaston’s sudden death, the postman becomes even more involved in the strangers’ relationship… This is a novella of poetry and philosophy, spare and elegant.
~ Karen Howlett

Reader Reviews

In addition, some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Cath Humphris - 'This quirky poetic story is a treat.  Bilodo the post-man's adventure in love and Japanese poetry is delightful.  Like the Haiku, it's a series of concise contrasts and surprises.' Read full review >
  • Katy Noyes - 'A snake eats its own tale in this short novel with shades of both Amelie and Cyrano de Bergerac.' Read full review >
  • Edel Waugh - '. If you ever had a moment where you wondered what if.... Then this philosophical story is for you.' Read full review >
  • Sally Doel - 'This is a story with love and tragedy and revelations, with deception and lies thrown in..., I was quite taken with it and thought about it a lot...' Read full review >
  • Megan Williams - 'A surprising tale that despite all initial sweet and harmless appearances, manages to pack a punch which is unexpectedly powerful for such a small novel.' Read full review >
  • Clare Topping - 'At just over 100 pages this is an afternoon’s read, enjoyable, a bit different, but with room for improvement.' Read full review >
  • Lisa Faulkner - '...a quirky and interesting novel.... An enjoyable and thought provoking read.' Read full review >
  • Jayne Burton - 'A captivating and surprising book - and I loved it...I am sad I have finished it and can't recommend it highly enough.'  Read full review >
  • Wendy Stubbs - 'Peculiar, as in the title of the book. But a compelling and thought-provoking story. Love through poetry, deceit and intrigue. Surprisingly engaging story...Highly recommended.' Read full review >
  • Alison Layland - 'A fascinating novel that really drew me into its world...The writing style, excellently conveyed by translator Liedewy Hawke, is a lovely combination of humour and depth...' Read full review >
  • Nancy Krois - 'This is an intriguing book, and a beautifully written one, where French- Canadian and Japanese culture meet.' Read full review >
  • Mandy Carver - 'I found this little book easy to read and thought provoking....  I never expected the ending of the book, it makes you think.' Read full review >

Synopsis

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault

A beautifully tragic and thought-provoking tale, The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman perfectly reflects the elegance and style of Murakami and the skill and plotting of Julian Barnes. Bilodo lives a solitary daily life, routinely completing his post round every day and returning to his empty Montreal apartment. But he has found a way to break the cycle - Bilodo has taken to stealing people's mail, steaming open the envelopes and reading the letters inside. And so it is he comes across Segolene's letters. She is corresponding with Gaston, a master poet, and their letters are each composed of only three lines. They are writing each other haikus. The simplicity and elegance of their poems move Bilado and he begins to fall in love with her. But one day, out on his round, he witnesses a terrible and tragic accident. Just as Gaston is walking up to the post-box to mail his next haiku to Segolene, he is hit by a car and dies on the side of the road. And so Bilodo makes an extraordinary decision - he will impersonate Gaston and continue to write to Segolene under this guise. But how long can the deception continue for? Denis Theriault weaves a passionate and elegant tale, comic and tragic with a love story at its heart. Philosophical, rich in description and detail, it cannot fail to move.

Reviews

'Captivating philosophical tale in which everything happens in slow motion, as in a dream. Endowed with a powerful imagination'
Le Devoir

'Perfect little story'
Montreal Review of Books

About the Author

Denis Theriault

Denis Thériault was born on the north shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence, near Sept-Îles, Quebec, has a degree in psychology and is an award-winning screenwriter who lives with his family in Montreal.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th September 2014

Author

Denis Theriault

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Publisher

Hesperus Press Ltd

Format

Paperback

Categories

Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories


ISBN

9781843915362

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