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

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

You know when you post a letter? Do you really know what happens to it? Do you just trust that it reaches it’s destination unmolested and unopened? Let’s be honest, from you, across the distance, to it’s final address, your letter could have been seen by many prying eyes.

The Peculiar Life Of A Lonely Postman is a weird one. It, as the title suggests, is about a lonely postman who enhances his life through the words of others. Two people in particular. On the face of it this seems like a fairly innocent, although morally wrong, pastime. But things take a dark turn. Very dark and twisted. Bilodo, our protagonist, delves deeper and deeper into a strange world of his own creating, and all through the book you just have the forboding sense that this will all end badly. You swing from feeling sorry for him, to being horrified at his actions, and most emotions in-between.

The story really centres around poetry. Yes, poetry. But don’t let that put you off. The poetry is just a vehicle to drive the story along so becomes part of it in a way which I’ve never encountered before. it’s really quite clever. And just like most good stories it’s pricks your conscience in a way that leaves you wondering whose side you’re on and whether you can forgive or accept certain behaviour.

I won’t ruin the story for you but it concludes in such a way that you will either see it coming a mile off or be taken completely by surprise. Which, possibly, may even give you a hint towards the direction of your own moral compass.

The original book was written in French and has been translated very well. It doesn’t leave you slightly cold, which I find, personally, some translated books can do. It’s a novella rather than a full blown novel, which makes it comfortable to read and never feels like it’s dragging it’s heels.

So if you like the slightly odd and bizarre, or unusual, I can recommend this. It won’t take you long to read. It’s not the most elegant writing or the most absorbing story, but none the less, it’s a departure from the norm, has some nice qualities and a very different plot. Go on, give it a try, you might like taking a step into the shadows.

 

Reviewed by:

Jake Mann

Added 12th September 2015

More Reviews By
Jake Mann

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman was released 12th September 2014 but I was lucky enough to receive a copy from Hesperus Press a month or so prior to the launch. It’s a cute little book with a lovely front cover, slender at around 120 pages with an interesting title.

Bilodo is a rather solitary postman, he gets on with his round, doesn’t talk much to his colleagues and does his job with grandeur. However, Bilodo has a secret as he intercepts mail, steaming it open and reading it before returning it to its envelope and then onto the sender.

When I read this on the blurb I was a little creeped out and I almost wish I’d photographed my daughter’s face to show you. However when you start reading from Bilodo’s own perspective it doesn’t seem quite so creepy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an oddball but there’s a point when you start rooting for him.

In his course of action, he intercepts what appears to be a string of love letters but not normal love letters, just single slips of paper with a single haiku upon it, continuing back and fore between senders. A turn of events takes the book on some pretty interesting twists and finds Bilodo acting somewhat out of himself.

If you don’t like poetry you may not like this book, great chunks of it are written in really lovely haiku correspondence that actually rekindled my own desire to write haiku well.

Like I said there was a point when I started really rooting for Bilodo and spun between wondering how it was going to end, hoping for a happy ending, and then being totally and completely shocked to the core when I read the last few pages.

It’s only a short novel, I spread it over two days but could have easily finished it in a couple of hours. A very enjoyable read and one I suspect will stay with me. Highly recommended.

 

 

Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 20th June 2015

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