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The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman (2005)

by Denis Thériault

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Based on the advance reviews, which described this book, variously, as beguiling (The Independent), quirky and charming (Guardian), delightful (Times Literary Supplement) and enchanting (John Burnside), I was expecting something akin to the adorable French comedy, Amelie. What I got was something far more poignant, philosophical, dark and complex.

It’s the story of Bilodo, an introverted young postman who “borrows” personal correspondence from people on his route to steam open, read and deliver the following day. As a result of this questionable practice, he becomes obsessed with a young lady in Guadeloupe who exchanges haiku with an eccentric middle-aged professor. When the professor meets with a sudden and tragic end, Bilodo studies the art of haiku and, masquerading as her pen-pal, begins to correspond with her in his place. This all makes the character sound pretty creepy, but he’s presented in a very sympathetic light and my reaction to his pursuit seemed to swing between pity and inspiration. Most of the time, I found myself rooting for him.

Immediately after finishing this, I read the sequel, The Postman’s Fiancee (which by the end of the first part, seemed a frankly doubtful prospect), which I highly recommend. The sequel fills in some blanks about Bilodo’s life and, ultimately, brings his saga full circle, so to speak.

This is a short but dense novel filled with humor, pathos and lots of [Asian] philosophical musing. It can be enjoyed for its odd story alone or, if one chooses to dig a bit deeper, for what it has to say about personal connection and the human condition. ( )
  blakefraina | May 30, 2017 |
Bilodo is a lonely person, living a solitary life. His work seems to be his only outlet, and as a postman, he is, in a sense, connected to others through the mail they receive. This offers him the opportunity to avail himself to their lives, through the letters he purloins, copies and reads, and then delivers. It is when he happens across some poems written to another that he falls in love with the writer. And when the person she is corresponding with dies, Bilodo, with alacrity, assumes his identity to keep up the correspondence with the woman he has come to love. But contriving to control such a situation is not easy, as Bilodo eventually comes to realize when his lady love wants to visit him. This tale is an unusual love story, peopled with equally unusual characters, and not likely to give you a warm, happy feeling. ( )
  Maydacat | May 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Peculiar Life
of the Lonely Postman is
A pretty good read

Yeah...there's haiku throughout. It's a love story...but a weird one, that should be creepy, but it's not. I suppose it's a ghost story of sorts and something else altogether, but I still liked the character of the titular postman. It's a very quick read and while the ending wasn't what I wanted, it was still interesting. I'm interested to pick up the sequel. ( )
  Sean191 | Mar 20, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a charming, lyrical tale of Bilodo's strange (and kind of creepy) journey as he delivers the mail and lives vicariously through the mail of one man on his route. A very odd story, with interesting characters and a trajectory you wouldn't expect.
  ninarucker | Mar 6, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman depicts how loneliness can affect a person and lead to a variety of displaced - peculiar - actions. It is a lovely novella sheathed in a quiet drama of deception, apprehension, love, lust, and pain. Ironically, it renders the reader uncannily on the side of deception, such are the pathos of its protagonist, Bilodo the Postman. Add to that Haikus, philosophy and humor, and you have a delightfully dark and quirky story. Be prepared to devour this lovely, all-consuming tale in one sitting as it is impossible to put down.

Incidentally, a sequel to this novella, The Postman’s Fiancee, is due for publication this year. Will it bring a close to Bilodo ‘s besotted journey, or will it add another layer to this curious and comic tale? I eagerly anticipate it's arrival! ( )
  BALE | Feb 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Denis Thériaultprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hawke, LiedewyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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