Sunday, May 18, 2008

Review: The Postman

Summary: The unforgettable inspiration for the Academy Award–winning Il Postino, this classic novel established Antonio Skármeta’s reputation as “one of the most representative authors of the post-boom generation in contemporary Latin American letters”(Christian Science Monitor). Boisterously funny and passionate, The Postman tells of young love ignited by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Set in the colorful, ebullient years preceding the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the book has been translated into nearly twenty-five languages around the world. -- ww norton

A few months ago, W.W. Norton offered me a couple of books to read and review. I was very excited to see that THE POSTMAN (IL POSTINO) by Antonio Skaarmeta had been re-issued. I remember a lot of Oscar buzz about a movie based on this book a few years back. Plus, the book is only 112 pages so it qualifies for The Novella Challenge. Unfortunately, it took me longer that I would have liked to get around to reading it.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel since I wasn't familiar with the movie and I haven't read much South American literature, but I actually enjoyed it very much. The book was very charming, not to mention down-right erotic at times. I also found myself laughing at much of Mario's behavior and words as well as his mother-in-law's insights. I realize that I was reading a translation, but the language was just beautiful. I'm sure the book might be even more lyrical if read in the original language (not a chance of that for me.) While I thought this book was very entertaining, I was slightly surprised by the depressing ending; however, it didn't affect my overall enjoyment at all.

THE POSTMAN would make a wonderful book club selection, especially if you want something a little different that a traditional book club pick. In addition, it is a very quick read; and if you're like my book club, we don't have as much time to read with the kids home over the summer. I can see lots of book clubs reading this book, watching the movie and discussing both at a future book club meeting. Imagine all of the wonderful Latin American foods and Chilean wines that you could serve!

1 comment:

Jason Pfeifer said...


We noticed that you were discussing book clubs in your blog. We have started a new online book club website where people can choose books, invite friends, and read and discuss books together. We are hoping for it to become an educational tool, and an online social space.

It's all pretty new and we are interested in having some people join, give it a try, and give us feedback on how they like it. Also, as we noticed that you have a blog, we are looking to see if anyone would like to review the site for us (good or bad) so we can get constructive feedback.

You can get there at:

My name is Jason, and if you have any questions or comments (good or bad) feel free to contact me


Jason Pfeifer
Community Manager