Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review #10 {!} - The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

Title: The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman
Author: Denis Thériault
Publisher: Hesperus Press
Published: Expected Sept. 2014


I received this free book via Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review. It does not in any way affect my review or thoughts of the book.

A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)

A beautifully tragic and thought-provoking tale that 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 postal rounds every day and returning to his empty Montreal apartment. But he has found a way to break the cycle—Bilodo has 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.

"If angels wrote, surely it was like this."
The above quotation is from chapter two of the book, and I shouldn't be quoting, and so I apologise, but I can't help it. That quote has stuck with me ever since I first read it. And I honestly feel that it is the best, and most simplest, way to describe this book.

According to my brother, I should give this book 5 stars purely for the mention of Halo and Call of Duty. Alas, I will not, because the only book my brother has read in his entire life is the first few chapters of A Game of Thrones: Song of Fire and Ice.

Denis has done a fantastic job with this, and so has the translator, Liedewy Hawke.

I'd like to start off by talking about the cover.

In person, the cover has more of a green tinge to it than the blue that is shown above. I prefer this, because it contrasts nicely with the red of the cherry blossom tree. (I am assuming it is a cherry blossom tree. They are quite popular in Japan, after all)

When it arrived in the post, I couldn't put the book down for hours. I wasn't reading- I was kind of just, staring at the cover. It was just so beautiful. And so tiny! It's incredibly thin at only 108 pages, and it doesn't even have the usual dimensions of a book. (Though that may be because this is an Uncorrected proof).

And speaking of it being an uncorrected proof, there were a couple consistency errors within. The first, I noticed, was the colour of Ségolène's eyes. They were described as emerald at one point, and then turquoise within another.

There were also some grammatical errors- words missing letters, and then some being placed in the wrong word order so that it didn't make sense. But again, my version is the uncorrected proof, so I'm sure by the time this hits the shelves it will be fixed and flawless.

I think what drew me to this book was the mention of haiku's. I am deeply interested in Japanese culture, (and I even have my own haiku published!) and so I was particularly excited to see how they fitted in with the story.

I was not disappointed. And when even more Japanese culture began to be mentioned - Kimonos, tankas, screens - I was undeniable excited. And I kept that excitement throughout, and even suffered a mild case of second hand embarrasment.

What really did it for me was the ending. It was so bitter sweet. And entirely unexpected! But welcomed, I guess. It gave the book a sort of meaning.

All in all, this book is not a love story. It is about a somewhat twisted man, who becomes so devoted to this woman - whom he has never met, never conversed with - that he disillusions himself to being in love. He's actually pretty creepy, in that respect.

But he isn't the worst character in the book; far from it. I suppose, in the end, he is nothing more than just another victim of the story.

Star Rating: 4.5/5

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