The Peculier Life of a Lonely Postman – review

The Peculiar Life of the Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault  – is a French Canadian novel which has had good reviews,”original, subtle and touching, telling the tragic and often comic routine of one man’s life and fate”.

It tells the story of a young postman in Montreal named Bilodo. Shy and unassuming, Bilodo spends his free time practising calligraphy, playing video games, and sitting in his customary seat at the local café.

He does have a secret however: he’s fond of intercepting the personal mail he’s supposed to be delivering, carefully opening it, and reading the contents before the intended recipients actually get it.

Through these letter opening activities, he discovers Ségolène, a beautiful schoolteacher and poet who lives  in Guadeloupe. Poring over her letters, which usually consist of one carefully constructed haiku, he immediately falls in love with her.

A series of fatal events unfolds whereby Bilodo himself is able to carry on the correspondence …as he steps in to ensure the letters keep coming.