Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Burley Cross Postbox Theft” as Want to Read:
Burley Cross Postbox Theft
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Burley Cross Postbox Theft (Digital Trilogy #1)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  168 ratings  ·  30 reviews
From the award-winning author of Darkmans comes a comic epistolary novel of startling originality and wit.

Reading other people’s letters is always a guilty pleasure. But for two West Yorkshire policemen - contemplating a cache of 26 undelivered missives, retrieved from a back alley behind the hairdresser's in Skipton - it's also a job of work. The quaint moorside village o
Hardcover, 361 pages
Published April 7th 2011 by Fourth Estate (GB) (first published January 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Burley Cross Postbox Theft, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Burley Cross Postbox Theft

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyBridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingDracula by Bram StokerGriffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock
Epistolary Fiction
108th out of 338 books — 407 voters
Torment by Lauren KateLinger by Maggie StiefvaterMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsIncarceron by Catherine FisherCrescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Best Book Covers of 2010
131st out of 175 books — 268 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 435)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
MJ Nicholls

Nicola Barker is a warped cookie. Her early works are stylish burps of weirdness about the burned children of Canvey Island. From the masterpiece Wide Open to the perverse Reversed Forecast, these short novels gave voice to a band of coastal misfits, charming in their antisocial lunacy. Lately, her novels have been concerned with formal innovation and taking huge experimental risks, as witnessed
Ben Carroll
After the massive, incomprehensible, hilarious and bruising Darkmans, Nicola Barker decided to write an almost linear, almost straightforward novel. Then she found herself disappearing down 27 separate fantastic and obtuse tangents within that relatively straightforward, arced novel. Then she went nuts, got rid of the original novel, and just kept the tangents.

I have no evidence for any of that, of course, but that's the story I back-engineered from Burley Cross Postbox Theft. It is, if anything
At first glance, it seems Nicola Barker has left behind the dark, menacing, labyrinthine world of Darkmans for sunnier, simpler climes - a quaint, pleasant village, the setting of Burley Cross Postbox Theft. Then again, whether you know this author by reputation or by past experience with her singular collection of works, do you really think she would pen a straightforward, conventionally charming epistolary novel along the lines of, say, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?

Any suc
This is a high 3/5 stars but that's really all I can say. Barker is witty and exceptional at writing and all of her novels have something special about them but I really expected more from this one. It's about a Postbox Theft where all that is left are a series of letters from the small English town of Burley Cross but really it's about the inner workings of a town between the destitute and the desperately romantic, the homeoerotic secret lover spots and the miserly old spinsters...what is inter ...more
Carey Combe
What a wonderfully unexpected joy of a book! I nearly gave up after the first couple of letters - weirdly out of place (very annoying footnotes) - but oh am I glad I carried on. A book that has taken the epistolary form to new heights - very rarely have I seen it done better, a real delight. Recommended to anyone with a delight in quirky, well-written books!
Lisa Ahlstedt
When I first read about the Burley Cross Postbox Theft, it sounded like a book for me. A postbox is vandalized and the letters found discarded in a yard in a sleepy English village. The police must investigate to figure out what happened and who is responsible. Because quite a large number of letters have been left behind, the police must attempt to determine what is missing and why. For some reason, the police investigators decide that they must read all of the recovered letters.

[ This review was originally posted on my blog: ]

After wanting to read this for ages, I finally caved in and bought it from Book Depository (there is no way I would have been able to find this in an Australian bookstore).

And, sadly, I then wished I hadn’t bothered to listen to the hype. While it’s a clever concept, the novel got bogged down in a score of unlikeable characters. Before you say, “But Jess, you loved ‘The Casual Vacancy’ and those people were
Sam Still Reading
Feb 20, 2012 Sam Still Reading rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like things quirky
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: loved the cover
I’ve thought about this book for some time after I finished it but haven’t really come to any definite conclusion – do I like this book or do I not? Let me list the pros and cons of this book.

- It’s written all in letters. I like that. Brings me back to some of the books I read in high school.
- You can get a good perspective of the village of Burley Cross through all those letters.
- There are some truly funny moments, such as the ‘sex hex’.
- It’s original.
- The ending is truly innovative.

Derek Baldwin
Extremely entertaining pastiche of epistolary novels which is like a blend of Adrian Mole, Mapp & Lucia, the maddest soap opera ever, Diary Of A Nobody, ooh plenty of stuff all mixed up and stirred vigorously. None of which is to suggest that it is not very carefully crafted. The fact that all the letters are so wildly over the top simply adds to the fun. (With the possible exception of the christmas round robin - I have read more restrained ones that were real, at least I think they were)

I slogged my way through this thing, but in the end I wasn't very happy that I'd squandered valuable reading time on it. Nothing is more dire than failed humor, and particularly failed wit: BURLEY CROSS POSTBOX THEFT is a prime example thereof. I have a fairly high tolerance for the OUR TOWN-ish, AKENFIELD-y village group portrait, but the writing in practically every section here is heavy-handed, with each underwhelming set-piece drawn out to a ludicrous degree. Reading it is like having to sit ...more
Clare Azzopardi
Funny. So funny and witty. It's good when you're sick in bed :) and need a good laugh. Haven't read a funnier book in a long while.
While The Burly Cross Post Box Theft was not quite as good as Darkmans, it was still amazingly well written and flat-out fun to read.
D.S. Nelson
From the outset this book captured my imagination. The very idea that the police would spend hours reading letters, sent by the villagers of Burley Cross, in order to work out who had stolen them is ingenious. The presentation of the story through a series of letters allows the reader into the mind of the characters and is the very epitome of 'show don't tell' writing. Each character has a different story to tell and makes up another part of the jigsaw in the Burley Cross Post Box Theft.

I loved
I didn't enjoy this as much as some of Nicola's more recent efforts, but still liked it. There are some unrealistic aspects that exist in the writing - the main one I observed was that by telling the story through people's letters and to include all the details necessary for the story, the letters were VERY long, which didn't ring true; people writing letters would not write them at the level of detail depicted. If you take that with a grain of salt, the story is filled with the quirky character ...more
Small town pettiness and intrigue; the best episode of Midsomer Murders never to have been filmed.
engaging witty style, but I have no idea what was going on
Molly Adams-Rimmer
I found this book good. It did have some funny moments, however, I did find it a little trying to finish and found the story a little difficult to follow. However, I would have loved to have known t
more about the aftermath.
Danika Dinsmore
I'm trying to decide if I should keep reading this one or not. Barker is certainly clever, and the premise is unique (the story is told through a series of letters stolen from a Postbox - each from a different character in the small town of Burley Cross - would make a fun movie).

But, I'm on page 68 and I don't feel like I'm going anywhere... the letters are a bit too tangential.

Nicola Barker really divides opinion but I loved this book. I thought it was hilarious, especially the auction. The first 2 sections could maybe have been edited down because I feel a lot of people will give up at this point of the book.
Oct 07, 2013 Lynn added it
No stars for this one, read 89 pages and couldn't get into at all. It has received very mixed reveiws defintely a marmite book which you either love or hate. I have never read any of her work and probably won't bother now.
Really didn't like this book. I kept on reading it hoping that is would get better but it just didn't. I didn;t really feel there was any story line and most of the characters were not very likable.
Jan 12, 2011 April added it
Tried but failed to read this. I think this was a "it's me, not you" situation. Story sounded good but didn't fit what I wanted to read at the time I had it.
A very funny, voyeur's look into the life and lives of small town Britain via their personal mail. Also has quite touching and quite nasty bits.
Nicola Barker's novels are fascinating and unusual and not necessarily an easy read. This one is hilarious.
Paul Blakemore
Artfully constructed, momentarily funny, but ultimately inconsequential.
gets exponentially more hilarious. funniest thing i've read in a long time.
Sue Lyle
Hated it. Could it get past first chapter.
Thaddeus Croyle
Darkman's was so good, and this was so bleh.
I didn't find it very entertaining.
Kio Stark
Nov 13, 2010 Kio Stark is currently reading it
Very cool iPhone thing with audio.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dot in the Universe
  • Landed
  • The House that Groaned
  • After Me Comes the Flood
  • Jubilee
  • Gentleman's Relish
  • The Crooked House
  • Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister
  • Amalgamemnon
  • Up the Junction
  • Everland
  • Come to the Edge
  • Pseudo
  • Christie Malry's Own Double Entry
  • Belfast Noir
  • Walking to Hollywood
  • The Worst Date Ever: War Crimes, Hollywood Heart-Throbs and Other Abominations
  • Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Nicola Barker is an English writer.
Nicola Barker’s eight previous novels include Darkmans (short-listed for the 2007 Man Booker and Ondaatje prizes, and winner of the Hawthornden Prize), Wide Open (winner of the 2000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and Clear (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2
More about Nicola Barker...

Other Books in the Series

Digital Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Yips
  • In the Approaches
Darkmans (Thames Gateway, #3) The Yips Wide Open (Thames Gateway, #1) Clear: A Transparent Novel Five Miles From Outer Hope

Share This Book