Another book finished for the postal reading challenge!
Clayton and I read books aloud together and we've been slogging our way through The Postman by David Brin for quite a while now. It was my choice- we switch off choosing the books.
My favorite thing about the book: the idea
The Postman is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, mostly in Oregon in the Willamette Valley.
The premise is that a wanderer (Gordon) who has been robbed finds a postal truck out in the wilderness with the dead postal worker still inside. It's freezing out, so Gordon takes the postal jacket uniform to warm himself. When he continues traveling people are in awe of the uniform, remembering the times when mail was delivered. His uniform is a symbol of hope that there could once again be order and society. He finds himself lying to keep hope alive and creates a new postal system.
I was super excited about this idea. I still think this is a fantastic idea.
My least favorite thing about the book: the mediocre, sometimes downright bad writing and the plodding pace
This was a 321 page book and it should have been half that size. There is so much time given to Gordon feeling guilty about the lies he's told. Ugh.
The characters were quite flat. There was a weird "feminist" sub-plot where the lead woman was called crazy over and over again.
Here's a very small taste of the writing: p. 244
"Whatever you may have heard about our rough life up here, I believe you'll find we've refined at
least a few of the old arts."
Gordon shook his head. Johnny looked over the man's head. Bezoar shrugged.
The writing might be made worse by the fact that I just started reading another book for the postal challenge: Herzog by Saul Bellow. The writing is beyond wonderful. I'm enjoying it so much.
Here is part of the first page of Herzog:
I'll be updating you with a full review on it when I've finished.
Final thoughts about The Postman: I'd skip it. I kind of wish that someone else would rewrite it, perhaps just as a novella, because the idea is so cool. There's a film with Kevin Costner, but I've heard it's quite terrible as well.
Also, the photos of the two books above were taken on my honeymoon in Ithaca, NY! Our bed and breakfast had this lovely little table on the 2nd story deck we had next to our room. The view looks down on the city of Ithaca.