The postman is the story of a young boy, Mario, who gets a job as a postman, in charge of taking Pablo Neruda’s mail, so there he goes every day to the poet’s house. At first Neruda doesn’t pay much attention to the boy, but little by little they become friends. When Mario falls in love with Beatriz, the innkeeper’s daughter, he asks Neruda for help because he wants to write the most beautiful poems to Beatriz.
Beatriz’s mother doesn’t want to know anything about Mario courting her daughter, but the girl is absolutely in love with him. “What in the name of God does he tell you, Beatriz?” her mother asks, and the girl replies, “Metaphors!” 😀
The story is set in Chile at the beginning of the 1970s, when Salvador Allende became president of the republic; a time I don’t know much about, I confess. This political background is important to the story because Neruda is sent abroad as an ambassador, but his friends in Chile are always in touch with him. After all, they are together thanks to Neruda’s poetry.
This is a short story with a little bit of every emotion: the reader finds love between Mario and Beatriz, humor when Beatriz’s mother gets to know Mario’s intention of marrying her daughter; friendship when Neruda finally agrees to help Mario, and sadness due to the political events explained in the book.
I think this is the first book I have read in which a real author – Pablo Neruda – is one of the main characters in the story, and I liked how at first he was distant and serious but then he makes friends with our illiterate characters of the village.
Even though I enjoyed the book, there were also some parts I really didn’t connect with, and that’s a common feeling I have with some Latin American authors because when they talk about love, I find that the language and the scenes between the characters are too excessive for my taste, but it is a personal opinion.
Do you read poetry? Does it talk to your heart?The postman Antonio Skármeta W. W. Norton & Company, 2008 112 pages