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The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,480 ratings  ·  700 reviews
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, steamin
Paperback, 119 pages
Published September 12th 2014 by Hesperus Press (first published 2005)
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Marieke I'm from the Netherlands and I kind of read it as Bie-loo-DO. I'm not really sure though, just guessing…moreI'm from the Netherlands and I kind of read it as Bie-loo-DO. I'm not really sure though, just guessing(less)

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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This book will make you
ponder life and time and self
Identity, time and love.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Our postman of the story, Bilodo, has an insatiable curiosity regarding people who write real letters to each other instead of using electronic mail or phoning each other. His curiosity eventually finds him steaming open random letters to read before re-sealing them and sending them on.

Then, he happens upon a correspondence where a woman sends only a single haiku in the envelope. Bilodo is very moved by this and makes a point of opening each of her offerings before re-sealing them and delivering
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
If the main character from this book, Bilodo, had been a real life person I would have avoided him like the plague. Or at least slapped a restraining order on his ass! Absolute gold star, grade A creeper, stalker and sociopath all rolled into one crazy postman.

However, put this bizarre character into a book filled with beautiful prose and I'm freaking enchanted!!!

THAT is the majesty of this art form.
It humanises the strange.
Softens the edge.
Gives soul to the lifeless.
And finds beauty in emp
Lars Jerlach
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Denis Thériault's ‘The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman' to be a wonderfully written poetic achievement and one that succinctly encompasses the eternal questions of love, existence and death.
The internal and tangential wisdom of the ancient style of Japanese poetry contributes greatly to the narratives peculiar, delicate note and support the characters in the story extremely well.
It might be a fairly short novel, but it is however a greatly rewarding piece of literature and one that con
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
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laysee by: Marita
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is a quirky, charming and playful story that will appeal to the incurable romantic and lover of poetry. If you enjoy reading haiku poetry and appreciate Zen culture, you will be enchanted. Yet, lest you think this very short book is all sweetness and light, it is not. The story becomes increasingly bizarre and the denouement at the end will leave you dazed and gasping for air.

Bilodo is a shy Montreal postman who is a bit of a recluse. His only companion is B
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2017; Oneworld Publications/Ingram Publisher Services
(Review Not on Blog)

This novel was just okay for me. I liked the quirky synopsis but Bilodo was not as an endearing character for me. I think that made this book not as enjoyable as everyone else found it. It is a quick short read.

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eagerly-read, novels, 2017
I was rather spellbound seeing Bilodo immersing himself into that surreal bubble. Theriault creates a quiet intimate atmosphere whilst at the same time reminding us that Bilodo is surrounded by all the trappings with which we are surrounded. However he escapes them and goes into this silent bubble, another world, a world better for him, or is it?

What I loved was how Theriault not only uses haiku and tankas but his prose reflects his poetry, it's spare, lean, to the point. Words are used to the m
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This short novel is about Bilodo, an "inquisitive postman," who steals the mail from two penpals exchanging letters in haiku. He witnesses the older man's death and moves into inhabit his life. The first half of this is the dottering old man trope (featuring a young man), and the second half feels like a Murakami imitation. I don't think it worked very well, but I'm so not a fan of solitary quirky characters, so I'm willing to say this just isn't for me.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a re
Kavipriya Moorthy
What an amazing book! A must read. 2 beautiful souls falling in love with each other via haiku poetry they exchange over letters. You can never pick one-best Haiku, I just all of it. I fell in love with Bilodo and Segolene.

All I expected was a simple love story when I kept reading it half way through and suddenly, the book hits with twists chapter after chapter. I loved the whole concept of the book, the characters, the theme, and the twists in the last few chapters.

Be it Bilodo, Segolene or G
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Paul Secor
Apr 25, 2017 rated it liked it
A good concept gone awry - at least in my opinion. This novel began as a fairly interesting character study and made its way into a Zen tale. That might be some to some people's tastes, but I'm more interested in folks than philosophy.

Some listening between spurts of reading - enjoyed the music more than parts of the novel:

Quatuor Mosaiques - Beethoven Quartets 1 & 4 (Naïve)
Memphis Blues Singers Volume 2 (Frog)
Dec 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
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
Solomon Manoj
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are some heart achingly beautiful stories and this is one. Bilodo slowly grows on you or I should say that I crawled into his skin little by little and you can't help but feel sorry for him. I fell in love with Segolene just by the words she wrote.

The prose is poetic and there are few beautiful haikus and tankas which I enjoyed reading. Thanks to my friends Vishy and Kev for recommending me this :)
Emmy Hermina Nathasia
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like a book that can surprise me, and the book sure did. I love the way the Canadian writer writes with such simple ease and flow. The book is light but the message is not. Cleverly hidden beneath day to day life (and haiku), one could not help but ponder upon the question of life and death, love amd obsession.
katy ktp
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unusual, interesting and unexpected. Not convinced about the ending.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love love love LOVE this novella! My haiku to you 😬 cough cough
My dear reader friends
This slender tome is charming
Read, be delighted

took me awhile to get into this book around a postman who get into writing haiku japanese style poems after he had been secretly opening letters to relieve his boredom as a postman, realise this book will not be everyones cup of tea though but felt it was quite delightful.
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I was not expecting that ending...
Samuel Bigglesworth
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a real breath of fresh air after reading many stuffy books.

It really adds beauty to the world through the words.

The ending was smart but a little unnecessary as it made the whole story less real.
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is a short book that starts as a typical slice of life and spirals out of control till the final, magical realism-ish ending. The reader can feel that the main character is moving towards his own distraction and still you can't put it down, as you need to read what will happen next.

The decision to neat the main plot along with Japanese influences and poetry was an interesting choice, as it introduces the reader to another form of literature and culture. How
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarything
Bilodo the postman found comfort in his life in a unique way. While it certainly wasn’t an ethical thing to do, Bilodo would sometimes slip a letter into his pocket instead of delivering it and would steam it open in the privacy of his own home that evening. He would read the letter, make a copy to keep and then mail the letter on to its proper recipient. Bilodo lived vicariously through these letters. When he opens up a letter with only a haiku in it, he’s pulled into the world of Segolene and ...more
Dennis Jacob
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
Denis Thériault's 'The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman' is a slim book of 109 pages, but it is a great piece of literature. A stunning and poetic achievement that lingers in the mind afterwards and I plan to re-read it several times over the summer. Do yourself a favor and read it even though it might not seem like your usual reading material. The translated edition released by Hesperus Press is a thing of beauty (with a few typographical mistakes inside). To mention plot or characters would b ...more
Denis Thériault’s The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is one of the most unusual love stories I’ve ever read. Part fable, part treatise on Japanese poetry, it also “flirts with the fantastic” (as the author states in a Q&A published at the rear of the book) and delivers a quietly understated story about the power of the written word and the Buddhist concept of Ensō.

To read the rest of my review, please visit my blog.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This short book has a disarming charm. Our protagonist, beguiled by the sensuous joy he gets from beauty of haiku, is driven by this passion. “And so the history of the haiku‘s birth repeated itself: stripped of superfluous words as though they were clothes dropped on the way to the bedroom, the naked essence of the poetry emerged.”
The haiku and tanka themselves steal the show. Much of the credit must be shared between the writer Denis Thériault and the brilliant translator, Liedewy Hawke.

Sashankh Kale
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant work; lyrical, fascinating and engaging.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in one sitting, I didn't expect the ending would be twisted like that. Such brilliant, I like it a lot! The plot was simple, storytelling was just nice and I like how the haiku shadowing inside the narratives giving colors and feels accordingly to the plot. A story of Bilodo, a lonely postman that caught up in a loop of strange relationship through written letter of haikus that giving him much pleasure to his mundane life, an obsession that somehow crashing him up spiritually. It tot ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is a peculiar book that seems to plod along before a surprising ending that makes the book jump from a nice story to a cleverly written poetic tale that uses Haiku and Tanka poems to relate a long distant love story. And there is the strange existence of the postman and poet - who is who.
It's a short book and a good one for book clubs to dissect.
Suanne Laqueur
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50-under-550
Holy crap, I didn’t see that coming. This was like Griffin & Sabine. More later when I collect my thoughts.
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Denis Thériault, romancier et scénariste, est diplômé en psychologie. Il a été quatre fois finaliste aux prix Gémeaux. Son premier roman, L’iguane (XYZ, 2001), a remporté le prix France-Québec 2001, le prix Anne-Hébert 2002, l’Odyssée 2002 et le Combat des livres 2007 de Radio-Canada. Son deuxième roman, Le facteur émotif (XYZ, 2005), a remporté le Prix littéraire Canada-Japon 2006. Ses romans son ...more

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