The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman - Denis Thériault

Genre: Fiction/Poetry
Synopsis: A beautifully tragic and thought-provoking tale that perfectly reflects the elegance and style of Murakami and the skill and plotting of Julian Barnes. Bilodo has taken to stealing people's mail, steaming open the envelopes, and reading the letters inside. And so it is he comes across Ségolène's letters. She is corresponding with Gaston, a master poet.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, just as Gaston is walking up to the post-box, he is hit by a car and dies. And so Bilodo makes an extraordinary decision—he will impersonate Gaston and continue to write to Ségolène. But how long can the deception continue for?


Review: Had I read the synopsis which mentions 'the elegance and style of Murakami', I probably would have run screaming from the idea of reading this novel. I've only read one novella by Julian Barnes, and I adored that, however, so it's a combination that could have gone either way. It went heavily down the Murakami route and as such I, unsurprisingly, am not a fan.

I love the premise of this novel. Adore it. It's genuinely awesome, despite the creepiness of Bilodo reading other peoples' mail. I had hoped to discover a character who inspires such sympathy for his lonliness that I would come to find his actions understandable, if no less creepy. What I actually got is a collection of amatuer haikus which were largely tedious to read (and I love a well-written haiku). The plot is largely obscured by page after page of these haikus, which somehow inspire one cardboard character (Bilodo) to fall in love with another, even flimsier, cardboard character (paper, perhaps, she is so thin?) Additionally, the story becomes unforgivably creepy, with Bilodo impersonating a dead guy and moving into his house to obsess over a woman he has never spoken to, let alone met. The writing is quite beautiful, some of the haikus are excellent, and there are a few hilariously witty and sharp lines in the book. But unfortunately, it also came across as quite undercooked, ill-thought-out, and honestly, pretentious.

That ending, though. That ending. I might have given the book 3 or 3.5 stars for the writing and few sucessful aspects, until that ending. Hated it. It's surreal and irrelevant to anything else in the book. I've seen quite a few reviews talk about how this book is thought-provoking, but none which have elaborated on the thoughts provoked. If it's supposed to mean anything, I'm afraid its lost on me.

Rating: 2/5

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