The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman
by Denis Thériault
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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
What stood out for this book was the interesting plot. The idea that our trusted postman could be someone who finds thrill and excitement in reading our mail was the last thing I’d think of, and Thériault turned the whole idea into a book. What enticed me about the book was the haikus and the thought of communicating through haikus fascinated me, something I did not think was possible.
Bilodo was just like us – seeing a romantic love story and falling in love with one of the characters, infatuated with a love life that he wish he had. And when he saw his chance to be the next actor of this love story, he jumped at it.
The plot was interesting and somewhat different. It introduces different Japanese literary art like ‘tanka’, ‘renku’ and ‘enso’ but it happened all in a blur and I could not understand any of it. The only reason why I bothered continuing the book was to look for good haikus. Unfortunately, there were only few that stood out.
It was rather creepy of Bilodo to have such a hobby and it certainly made me wonder if any of the postmen did the same. He invaded the privacy of others, just for his mere enjoyment. Poor Ségolène, if only she knew. Their poor love story would never had happened.
The ending was unexpected, but nonetheless, I loved it. It felt as if the entire story had come to a full circle. It also leaves me wondering, had ‘Grandpré’ really been Grandpré?
I believe I expected too much from this book regarding the haikus. It was a good book in terms of the plot and how unique it was. However, some parts in the book was confusing, especially when the literary arts in Japan were mentioned.