Book Review: The Postman’s Fiancée by Denis Thériault

What’s it about?

Tania has moved to Montreal to fine-tune her French, to study, and to fall in love. She meets Bilodo, a shy postman who spends his days writing haiku, and they become friends. Yet fate intervenes, and Tania and Bilodo’s lives become intertwined in a way she would never have expected.

This is a standalone work, but revisits the characters in Thériault’s other novel, The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman.

My thoughts

I’m going to start this by saying that I loved The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman. It is elegant and clean, and blends the Japanese poetry so wonderfully into the text that it’s like reading a long-form poem. So I came to The Postman’s Fiancée with high expectations.

It is a different book, but it’s not a disappointment. Where the previous book was really driven by haiku, this is much more based around the story of Tania and Bilodo. There is still poetry, though, and it is as elegant as the first one. In fact, I found it more touching. Thériault manages to convey the sense of loneliness surrounding Tania to such an extent that while her behaviour leaves quite a lot to be desired, the reader can understand her actions. Bilodo remains the same slightly aloof character we met in the first book, but somehow has more depth of character in this one. This is Tania’s story, but Bilodo is so intertwined with her that it’s his too.

I won’t say too much more, for fear of spoilers, but this is, simply put, a beautiful book. Thériault has a gift for words, and his haiku are worthy of their own volume.

Would I recommend it?

Yes. Without a doubt. This is technically its own book, but I heartily recommend you read The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman too.

The Postman’s Fiancée by Denis Thériault is published by Oneworld priced £8.99.

I received an advance copy to review thanks to NetGalley.

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