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Burley Cross Postbox Theft (Digital Trilogy #1)

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  257 Ratings  ·  39 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)
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MJ Nicholls
Jul 06, 2010 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it

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
Jul 25, 2011 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben Carroll
May 25, 2011 Ben Carroll rated it it was amazing
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
J.M. Hushour
Dec 16, 2016 J.M. Hushour rated it it was amazing
I wish Nicola Barker was my aunt, the aunt you're sure leads a cult somewhere in the hills. She's a phenomenal writer who doesn't seem to get her due here in the States. I can't recommend her enough. She is difficult, hilarious, surprising, and probably one of our greatest living novelists.
BCPT revives awesomely the epistolary novel, the novel in letters, seemingly doomed in the digital age of ether-fucklets and imaginary no-nothing correspondence. A postbox gets ripped off and a cop sifts thro
Mar 29, 2012 Kirstie rated it liked it
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
May 15, 2010 Carey Combe rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 14, 2017 Mira rated it did not like it
It took an eight hour flight to get through this one. Hallelujah when I finally finished. So much prevarication and rambling. It took a lot of energy to get through, a real trudge.
Sam Still Reading
Jan 21, 2012 Sam Still Reading rated it really liked it
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.

Lisa Ahlstedt
Mar 27, 2014 Lisa Ahlstedt rated it it was ok
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.

Barb Otter
Feb 16, 2017 Barb Otter rated it really liked it
Letters stolen from a village postbox are found and read.
Poignant and funny, I particular liked the letter regarding the Auction benefit, very amusing .
Jul 07, 2013 Jess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
[ 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
Jul 21, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
I went back and forth on this. The epistolary style of Burley Cross Postbox Theft is genius, and there are plenty of characters I recognise from living in a small town (and the sort of petty grievances people air when their world is that minuscule, often written into the local paper). It chugs along at a decent pace, I laughed a lot, and there were some genuinely sweet, dramatic and affecting moments amidst all the provincial satire (along with a fair helping of Alan Partridge, actually).

But als
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 Derek Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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)

D.S. Nelson
Jun 03, 2012 D.S. Nelson rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 29, 2011 Boyd rated it it was ok
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
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
Jack Bates
Aug 03, 2016 Jack Bates rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Ha, this is great. As mentioned previously I like an epistolary novel and this is a good one. The letters stolen from the Burley Cross postbox just before Christmas give an intimate and slightly disturbing view of the inhabitants of this pretty village in Wharfedale. Will PC Roger Topping be able to solve the crime? And what results will the removal of those letters from circulation have on their writers?
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.

Jun 27, 2016 Jean-Pascal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Chaque lettre est amusante, c'est vrai, mais comme le serait un article bien troussé d'un quelconque magazine. Et puis d'une lettre à l'autre, l'humour est en définitive toujours le même confinant à la sotte lourdeur quand il s'agit, par exemple, des dégâts occasionnés par une folle. Enfin, l'ensemble ne fait absolument pas un roman.
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.
Christine Van Heertum
Oct 29, 2016 Christine Van Heertum rated it did not like it
Shelves: roman
Le titre et la présentation de l'éditeur m'avaient attirée, mais j'ai très vite changé d'avis : c'est long, c'est lent, ça part dans tous les sens et ce n'est pas drôle du tout, contrairement à ce qui est annoncé … en deux mots : classement vertical.
Molly Adams-Rimmer
Nov 26, 2014 Molly Adams-Rimmer rated it liked it
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.
Feb 20, 2011 Lc16 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
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.
Aug 19, 2010 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.
Sue Lyle
Feb 16, 2014 Sue Lyle rated it did not like it
Hated it. Could it get past first chapter.
Spotted on Carey's profile.
Jan 27, 2012 Rebecca rated it did not like it
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.
Clare Azzopardi
May 18, 2014 Clare Azzopardi rated it liked it
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.
Paul Blakemore
Oct 20, 2013 Paul Blakemore rated it it was ok
Artfully constructed, momentarily funny, but ultimately inconsequential.
Apr 11, 2015 Gail rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
engaging witty style, but I have no idea what was going on
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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

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