The Postman is a beautiful, compact story about friendship, a love of words, loyalty and love. Mario Jimenez lives in a small fishing village in Chile, but rather unfortunately has an aversion to fishing. Told in no uncertain terms by his father to “go get a job”, Mario’s possession of a “cheery Legnano bicycle” is qualification enough for him to become a postman for his local area. The only catch being that he will only have one client, but one that receives tons of mail every day: the lauded poet Pablo Neruda.
Mario and Pablo form a strong friendship, with the postman becoming an unlikely asset to the Nobel Prize winner during a difficult point in Chilean history. In return, Pablo instils in Mario a confidence and love of metaphors that helps him to win the affections of his love, local bar maid Beatriz. When Neruda is sent to Europe by the Allende administration, the two correspond by letter against the backdrop of an increasingly unstable Chile. But the introduction to Chilean politics and the love between Mario and Beatriz remain sub-plots in The Postman. The real star of the novella is the funny, poetic and affecting friendship between the two central characters.
At just over one hundred pages, this book could easily be devoured in one sitting on a lovely lazy Sunday afternoon, or as I did, curled up on the couch, resting after a big job had finished and fighting away the start of a cold. To help with the latter, I brewed up this healing turmeric and spice tea. Another of the lovely Yasmeen’s Wandering Spice recipes (as was Questions of Travel’s allayeh, this incredibly vibrant tea was warming and soothing, yet packed a big hit of colour and spice.