57-year-old Albert Lippincott, primarily known simply as the Mailman delivers letters in the small town of Nestor, New York. He also has the habit of reading other people’s mail. When someone on his route commits suicide, Albert panics because he has a letter which he never delivered. Caught by a neighbor while trying to undo his misdeed, Albert finds his life unraveling and takes us on a strange journey through his past.
For anyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis, you’d be correct in thinking this is not the type of book that I normally gravitate to. But, when my beloved Eric over at http://isaacspictureconclusions.com recommended I read this, well, I just had to give it a whirl.
Albert, aka Mailman is an anti-hero unlike any I’ve ever read. He’s neurotic, depressed, and obsessive, and he’s so lonely that the only enjoyment he gets out of life is in reading other people’s mail. When he’s found out, he’s hauled in by his supervisors to be grilled, and then panics and flees to Florida where his parents have retired. From there, the reader is taken back through Albert’s life as he reminisces about what has led him to this juncture. We discover his past involves among other things: a failed college career, divorce, and an extremely uncomfortable relationship with his sister which has left him sexually confused. The therapist that he sees tells him: “Something died in you, Albert, which you failed to dispose of properly, and now is, if you will, stinking up your very self.” I think that this sums up Albert very well. While repulsive at times, Albert also provides some hysterically funny insight not only into his life, but also into the lives of others around him. The only problem I had is with the amount of detail Lennon puts into the almost 500 page book. There’s so much of it that it slows down the narrative at times.
In turn, funny, sad, and creepy, this is the kind of book that will leave you mulling over its contents for a long time after you finish it, which I think makes it a successful read. I want to thank Eric for suggesting something that is out of my normal comfort zone.