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The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  3,438 ratings  ·  562 reviews
Secretly steaming open envelopes and reading the letters inside, Bilodo has found an escape from his lonely and routine life as a postman. When one day he comes across a mysterious letter containing a single haiku, he finds himself avidly caught up in the relationship between a long-distance couple who write to each other using only beautiful poetry. He feasts on their wor ...more
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published February 2nd 2017 by Oneworld Publications (first published 2004)
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3.66  · 
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 ·  3,438 ratings  ·  562 reviews


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Jaline
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Cathrine
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This book will make you
ponder life and time and self
Identity, time and love.
Emer (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
...more
Lars Jerlach
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Maciek
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
...more
Vishy
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Laysee
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
RATING: 3 STARS
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***
Sofia
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eagerly-read, 2017, novels
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Michelle Keill
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Aisling
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T3ll...
Memphis Blues Singers Volume 2 (Frog)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0eyT..
...more
Solomon Manoj
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
Sarah
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

Stephen
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.
Samuel Bigglesworth
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.
Dennis Jacob Rosenfeld
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
Lemar
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.

“Sw
...more
Kimbofo
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.
Amy
Dec 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
E. H. Nathasia
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sashankh Kale
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant work; lyrical, fascinating and engaging.
Venky
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibliocase
"Swirling like water
against rugged rocks
time goes around and around

Thus with a Haiku does begin Denis Theriault's beautifully tragic book. The protagonist of the story is a twenty seven year old postman, Bilodo. Bilodo, a bachelor lives in a small one bedroom unit on the 10th floor of a non-decrepit apartment in Montreal. Incorrigibly inquisitive he has the curious and illegal habit of steaming open personal letters before sealing them back and making deliveries to the rightful recipients. Dur
...more
Hizatul Akmah
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HOLY SHITTTT I TOTALLY DIDN'T SEE IT COMING



swirling like water
against rugged rocks,
time goes around and around



this novel somehow paid homage to the japanese literature and i really loved the fact that i had no bloody idea what was going on but the story kept me at the edge nevertheless. i will definitely read the author's other books too in the future.
Calzean
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
Shelves: 50-under-550
Holy crap, I didn’t see that coming. This was like Griffin & Sabine. More later when I collect my thoughts.
Marjorie
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Zoe
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique, quirky and exceptionally thought-provoking!

This is a short but poignantly sweet story about a young, content postman by the name of Bilodo who lives a simple life by day and a much more exciting though deceptive life by night as he secretly indulges in the writings of strangers and the lives and love those letters express.

The prose is exquisitely descriptive. The imagery is beyond words with metaphors and similes that ignite all the senses. And the plot is truly a well-crafted love lette
...more
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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
“Swirling like water against rugged rocks, time goes around and around” 7 likes
“Slowly flowing sky breakup of the clouds icebergs that have lost their way” 1 likes
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