The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault and Liedway Hawke

The Blurb

An original, subtle and touching novel, telling the tragic and often comic routine of one man’s life and fate. 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 haw 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, 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 Ségolène, 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 Ségolène under this guise. But how long can the deception continue for? Denis Thériault 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.

The Review

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault and Liedway Hawke is a rather curious story that highlights the bizarre dangerous of living a voyeuristic life. Bilodo, through sheer loneliness has a disturbing habit of opening other people’s personal mail. Not boring mail such as bank statements or insurance opportunities but personal hand written letters. Through his actions he becomes obsessed with one of the senders – a lady called Ségolène – and through a bizarre set of circumstances he ends up corresponding with her himself.

The story left me feeling a few things – firstly, I was extremely freaked out. I am one of those people who still partakes in the dying art of letter writing and the thought of a postman reading my letters really bothered me. Secondly, I was saddened by the sheer loneliness of Bilodo. As much as I cannot understand why he did what he did I still felt bad for him…even if he comes across as a bit of a sociopath.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is an interesting story and it is really well written and translated, however, the story didn’t really engross me as much as I would have liked.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault and Liedway Hawke is available now.


Leave a comment

  1. 7th February 2015 / 8:17 am

    I read this in French . I bought it from the Quebecoise bookshop in Paris as it has never been published in France . In the shop they were v surprised to hear it was published in English and after reading it I can understand why . Like you I was a little underwhelmed . I recently got a copy of his earlier book Iguana second hand in France so it will be interesting to see what that is like !

    • 7th February 2015 / 9:10 am

      Sometimes things get lost in translation and you know, who doesn’t like a small bit of magical realism every now an then? However, this just didn’t float my boat. Sad times but I’m glad it wasn’t just me 🙂 x

  2. 7th February 2015 / 8:57 pm

    Good review Lisa, but not sure ‘The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman’ is for me.

    • 8th February 2015 / 9:04 am

      I’m glad that I read it but it definitely wasn’t the best x

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