The Postman: Antonio Skarmeta
First published in Spanish in 1985 then in English in ‘87, Norton have reissued The Postman for those that either missed it the first time around, like myself, or for those that want to revisit Isla Negra, the small Chilean island where Mario Jimenez falls in love with the beautiful Beatriz. Mario, having an aversion to fishing with his father and not being an early riser, takes a job as postman on the small island. His job turns out to be easier than it sounds as he only has one customer, the influential poet Pablo Neruda. The two soon form a strong friendship which comes in handy for wooing headstrong Beatriz.
The lovelorn and uneducated young man employs the power of the metaphor and the poetry of his beloved bard to win the girl’s heart and along the way he gains an appreciation for the beauty of the written word. Mixing fiction with real people and events, this beautiful novel was the inspiration for the Italian film Il Postino in the early 1990s, this original novel sits more comfortably however in its time and place taking in Neruda’s winning of the Nobel prize in 1971, his time as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party, his time as President Allende’s ambassador to France and Chile’s military coup in 73.