I was so close to totally loving this book! It’s a very charming story, told with a wonderful lightness of touch, but there were just a few things that let it down. It tells the tale of Bilodo, a lonely postman who has been secretly reading the love-letters of a woman named Segolène.
At first, I found the writing a little “cutesy” for my taste, but I got into it, and there was real humour and paciness behind the tale. I was put off, also, early on by some really basic errors that should have been caught by the publishers – for example, Bilodo ‘volted’, rather than ‘vaulted’, up the stairs (COME ON, people) – and some basic formatting errors, including random words appearing in the middle of other words.
But it got going, and once I was about twenty pages in I couldn’t put it down until the end. It was funny and charming and written with this wonderful verve. And then the end. Oh the end! I loved the end. Loved it. What I didn’t love was the final chapter, which explained the end. It was already clear what had happened! You know how explaining a joke makes the joke less funny? Yeah, well, the same thing works for the ending of your novella. It was an immensely clever ending that tied all the themes and events of the novella together, and was then followed by this heavy-handed précis of why that all made sense. It spoiled for me the delicacy of the storytelling up to that point.
This was an almost-there book for me, but I would certainly heartily recommend it to anyone to try. It’s short, it’s entertaining, and certainly worth a read.
Since this book is full of haiku, I am also going to (attempt to) present my review in haiku form:
A charming little novella,
Reads very beautifully,
Until you explain the ending.
Rating: 4 stars
One thought on “The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault”
There’s a saying I always use for people who explain their jokes. “Explain it, you drain it!”