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The Postman's Round

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  753 ratings  ·  150 reviews
This short, astonishing novel conjures up the solitary daily life of Bilodo, a postman who shares his Montreal apartment with his goldfish, Bill. As a result of his indiscretion (the steaming open of personal correspondence), Bilodo becomes involved in an exchange of haiku between the woman of his dreams, a Guadeloupean beauty, and Gaston Grandpre, an eccentric intellectua ...more
ebook, 120 pages
Published April 21st 2008 by Dundurn Group (CA) (first published 2004)
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This book will make you
ponder life and time and self
Identity, time and love.
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman tells the story of Bilobo, a quiet and otherwise unremarkable postman living a rather solitary existence in Montreal. But Bilodo harbors a rather naughty secret - he steals mail that he is supposed to deliver, steams open the envelopes and reads the letters inside. It is in this way that he is introduced to Ségolène, a Guadeloupean woman corresponding with a man on his postal route, Grandpré.

Ségolène sends Grandpré short haikus, with which he quickly becomes
I haven’t heard of Denis Thériault before, till I got this book from one of my friends as a Christmas present. I read the story outline on the inside flap and before I knew I was into the book and couldn’t stop reading it. Though it is the size of a novella at slightly over a hundred pages, it is a book that I enjoyed reading slowly and lingering over my favourite sentences. Here is what I think.

‘The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman’ is the story of a postman called Bilodo. He is twenty-seven y
E quando encontramos um livro que nos parece tão bom, que o começamos a ler de imediato…
E quando esse livro é mesmo bonito nas primeiras páginas e de repente, inesperadamente, sem que nada o fizesse prever; começa a descambar, a descambar…e só no final, recupera um pouco da graça inicial…
“A Vida Peculiar de um Carteiro Solitário” é um livro surreal, onde a poesia nipónica é o fio condutor na correspondência entre dois amantes. Tinha tudo para ser um livro excelente. Para minha grande desilusão é
Katy Noyes
A snake eats its own tale in this short novel with shades of both Amelie and Cyrano de Bergerac.

What a beautifully told tale. Sparse, like the haikus it contains, and elegant. A lonely postman in Montreal secretly steams open mail to correspondents in his round. Living vicariously through their love letters and missives, his favourites come from a woman sending intriguing poems to a local man. By chance he one day sees this same man killed by a car on his way to post a reply. Can he allow the wo
Postman have certainly changed from how they used to be back in my day. Postman Pat would never steam open people's letters.
Not even privatisation has sunk good old Royal Mail to those lows... But Bilodo (so hard not to type 'Dildo' but that is NOT his name - repeat to self, M - that is NOT his name) is no Postman Pat. In fact, he's a creepy 'One Hour Photo' type.

Or is he..? I won't give away the 'twist', but I didn't see that one coming. The story came good on its Asian themes and by the end fe
Sara Williams
Remind me not to pick random books I have never heard about before in book stores to read just because I'm bored again.The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault presents a nice permise - a lonely postman who opens up other people's mail and reads it, immerses himself in their own lives. I love books about post workers! Take Post Office by Bukowski for example. This book however left me with no sense of the connection to the story or any of its characters.
But the haikus were very b
It’s a very short easy read which I think I needed to get myself back into reading and I was so happy with the book. The cover was honestly just too beautiful to pass up. You don’t actually get attached to the characters (except Bill the fish), in fact, you may well hate the protagonist, Bilodo, but the story is so intense and quirky. I loved this from start to finish.

It’s very heavily influenced by Japanese/Oriental culture throughout which I love, I love poetry and there isn’t a moment in the
Bilodo, a personagem principal desta narrativa, começa por ser um carteiro solitário que vive só, num apartamento com um peixinho vermelho chamado Bill e que lê a correspondência alheia antes de a entregar aos seus destinatários. De entre esta correspondência, está a de Grandpré, um homem apaixonado pela cultura nipónica que troca haiku com Ségolène, mulher por quem Bilodo se apaixona ao ler os seus poemas. Até que um dia, Grandpré é vítima de um atropelamento mortal e Bilodo não querendo "perde ...more
I think that maybe I wasn't the right audience for this book. I've read other reviews and most of them give it four or five stars and talk about the mastery of the writing and emotion behind it all.

For me? Not so much.

To be honest, I was bored for most of the story. While I certainly agree that the ending was a great surprise, it wasn't enough to make me like the book.

I didn't like Bilodo (let's be honest here, the dude's a creeper) and I didn't really care what happened to him or his haiku.

Kafkaesque... The sad and lonely life of a postman that becomes obsessed, and the obsession leads to lifestyle changes and ultimately his own downfall. A neat introduction to haiku, which lifts the spirit even for the uninitiated.
Peter Lomax
Really great thought provoking story, with a stunning twist at the end that I never saw coming.
Amy Drown
The best I can say about this story is that I simply didn't get it. A mailman who not only opens, reads, photocopies and saves other people's mail, but eventually buys one particular letter-writer's apartment and assumes his life after the man dies -- all to get closer to the girl whose replies turn him on? Creepy on so many levels. Not to mention very distant prose, shallow point-of-view, and other technical deficiencies. Perhaps the point of this story gets lost in translation, but it was a de ...more
I really enjoyed this very slim read, which slipped down comfortably like a sorbet between courses. I have seen some reviews comparing the author with Julian Barnes and Haruki Murakami, and while I haven't read anything by the former I cannot see much connection with the latter, and I infinitely preferred Theriault's style to all the Murakami I have read. If it needs comparison to another author, I would say it reminded me mostly of Kafka (and the author cites him as an inspiration in the intere ...more
Kel Munger
Love is a many-splendored—and weird—thing

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault (Hesperus Press, $14.95).

Québécois novelist Denis Thériault explores the all-too-narrow line between love and obsession in The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, translated from the French by Liedewy Hawke. The titular postman, Bilodo, is self-isolated, ignoring opportunities to expand his social circle so that he can pursue his lonely passion: He steams open letters and reads them before delivery.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault is a highly recommended beautifully written novella.

Bilodo is a lonely postman in Montreal who does his job well and without complaint because he has found a way to make his life meaningful. You see, "Bilodo was an inquisitive postman." His inquisitive nature leads him to carefully taking home, steaming open, and reading a letter a day from the people on his route. He is a postman who has found meaning to his life through the lives of othe
Not at all what I was expecting. The premise of this book was great; a lonely postman steams open correspondence between a couple and falls for the woman. When the male correspondent is killed, the lonely postman continues the correspondence. Very intriguing, right? Lots of potential for a good mystery. Instead I read a beautiful and moving (if quirky) book. There was a brief moment when I felt like this was an excuse for the author to share his knowledge of and love of haikus (and tankas) but a ...more
Keith Maher
Absolutely delightful little book.
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.

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 s
This is one of the books that, small as they might be, they have such a beautifully stitched together storyline that you can't possibly not enjoy them!

Most of all, the accuracy about japanese poetry -haiku- is adding a lot to the status of the story. And I can't say that I was not taken aback from the plot twist near the closing of the book- it literally astonished me :3

I am so happy I came across this book in the bookstore selves, it was a definite worth :D

5/5 for me :D
Lolly LKH
I have mixed feelings about this novel. The idea is lovely, and Bilodo's loneliness is a beast. The writing is beautiful, the haikus lovely but I sometimes felt a cold disconnect, which is strange with such emotional writing. It certainly didn't change my enjoyment of the story, and I was captivated. It is, much like the title, peculiar. I think that it's poetic and lovely, but isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. Deception for love isn't a new theme, and you can't help but understand why Bi ...more
Olga Nikolaeva
I read the book over a short flight between two cities. When a plane landed I couldn't tell if the book was amazing or it was simple a challenge to go through it that kept me reading. And I probably still can't. But one thing is undoubtedly beautiful in it - it's the way this book is written. It felt like the size of the book somehow dictated a style of its narration. If I try to hold on to some artistic metaphor I say it felt like a piece of crumbled paper that unwrapped itself in front of your ...more
Vasco Simões
Que pérola de livro, pequeno mas cheio de vida e com uma história cativante. Um carteiro que tem uma vida aborrecida e um pequeno hobbies "ilegal". Não conto para não estragar mas esta é uma história muito boa. Um livro que se lê de um trago e tem uma sensibilidade e beleza únicos. Vale mesmo a pena. Que descoberta.
Nichole Beauchamp
Took a chance on this book and was well rewarded. Beautifully written and intriguing. Raced through it - will look for other books he has written. Think the translator deserves a serious pat on the back as well for all those haikus.
Bindu Manoj
The premise sounded quite interesting. A young postman reading mails surreptitiously and getting particularly attracted to a correspondence of haikus. The man who it is intended for suddenly dies in an accident. So far, so good and there are some beautiful verses in there to keep you hooked. Things get a little weird and the language ordinary, from there. Was a big let down.
A charming meditation on the nature of love, imagination and time.
This was a weird book. Yet another one of those books that gets lots and lots of praise, but when you actually read it, it's overhyped.Bilodo is the lonely postman who has a boring and dull life. He only has one "friend" who insists on taking Bilodo to strip clubs and is probably less of a "friend" and more of a bully. Bilodo has been intercepting and reading letters for a couple of years now, and has fallen in love with the writer of one of the writers, who is engaging in a long distance relati ...more
Alison Pope
This is a quick and beautiful read. It is a poetic novella that not only features haiku and tanka but also delightfully lyrical prose something difficult to achieve in translation. The subject of the book is unsettling: a postman who is routinely dutiful on the surface but who immerses himself in the lives of others by reading their mail. This escalates one day when he comes to insert himself into the correspondence and indeed into the life of one of the correspondents. There is not much that is ...more
I read too much into things.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way I can start this review by saying that the circumstances that brought us, this book and me, together were quite… different. You see, I had just sent yet another draft of my thesis by email to my advisors the night before and I felt the need to buy myself a new book to celebrate. Sadly, the mall closest to my place doesn’t really have a bookshop, but there is indeed a store that sells books, amongst other things. I was there
Brooklyn Tuesday
I never liked Haikus before I read The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman. I always saw them as the easy way out; a lazy form of poetry anyone could throw together. After all, I used to do it all the time in high school; whenever we were asked to release our inner poet. I humbly apologise to my infinitely patient English teachers, whom I must have exasperated beyond belief. Seriously, haikus can be pretty cool if done in the right way and boy does Thériault do them in the right way.

I’ll admit, d
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