Why you might connect with this story:
- This is a story of isolation leading to obsession. You may be repulsed by the main character, you may feel sorry for him, but you will think about yourself and consider how you deal/would deal with isolation and obsession in your life.
- You enjoy the beauty of Haiku or want to know more about the art form.
- You enjoy exploring the concept that you can fall in love with someone that you have never met and whom you are deceiving.
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 Ségoléne’s letters. She is corresponding with 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?
Why I enjoyed the story:
I picked this book up for 3 reasons – The title intrigued me; I had just discovered the Haiku style and this book is full of them; and frankly I liked the cover and sometimes it is silly things like that which will peak your interest in a novel. This was not the type of story that I would usually read but I’m glad I did.
One of the stand out parts of the book for me was actually that my copy is a translation from French into English. I think it was an amazing achievement by Liedewy Hawke to translate Denis Thériault’s lyrical story and more impressively the haikus. To translate a form of poetry that is as restrictive as 17 syllable Haiku and be able to retain the meaning is truly astonishing.
“Swirling like water
against rugged rocks,
time goes around and around.”
The Haiku aspect of this book was what made this story stand out for me. I love the seeming simplicity of a Haiku while being incredibly technical and is it’s own little story in 3 lines. This novel was overflowing with them as the letter writing characters communicate with these almost exclusively. I spent a fun half hour travelling home the other day devoted to creating Haiku – which is completely outside of what I would normally do – and I would thoroughly recommend you to do something similar. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is full of complex and beautiful Haikus, but if that doesn’t inspire you then these funny ones should.
I will admit that I put this book down halfway through reading it and I didn’t go back to it for a couple of weeks. I like to feel connected with the main character but Bilodo – the postman – was a sociopath and at the point where I put the novel down the only feeling I had for him was a slight repulsion. In the end I decided that I wanted to know how the story ended so I picked the book up again. I’m glad I did. I won’t go so far as to say that I started to like Bilodo but I did start to empathise with him a little and I did end up feeling sorry for him. It was not a story that I lost myself inside of but it did make me think about bigger issues than myself and that’s not such a bad thing.Would you recommend this post?