"Monty Python's Flying Circus" alumnus Michael Palin turns his hand to writing fiction. A mild-mannered English postmaster--who is obsessed with Hemingway--must decide whether to drift along passively or fight for what he believes in, after his small village postal office is privatized.
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A quiet, unassuming postman develops an unexpected obsession in this quiet, unassuming--and very English--first novel from Michael Palin of Monty Python fame. Martin Sproale is the very model of a modern Walter Mitty. An assistant postmaster in the coastal town of Threston, he lives at home with his mother and rides his bicycle to work each day. It's a pleasant but uneventful sort of life, marked only by Martin's growing fascination with the life, works, and personal style of Ernest Hemingway. "Tea-drinkers, mothers, post office administrators, would-be fiancées. Little people with little minds," Martin thinks. "When would they realise that only through confrontation with danger could life be lived to the full?" Martin has transformed his room into a kind of Hemingway shrine, complete with bullfighting poster, several first editions, the same kind of typewriter Papa used--even a vintage WWI Italian army first-aid cabinet filled with all the liquors he liked to drink.
Two things happen to shatter Martin's equilibrium. First, a new, corporate-style postal manager takes the job that by rights should have been his, promptly beginning a campaign of privatization and modernization that threatens all Martin holds dear. Second, an American woman outbids him on Hemingway memorabilia; a scholar, "not a fan," of the writer, Ruth Kohler lives in seclusion nearby while she works on a book about the women in Hemingway's life. Martin and Ruth engage in some increasingly heated role-playing as the conflict over Threston's post office comes to a slow boil. Deprived of his position, his cozy world crashing down around him, Martin finds himself acting more like the he-man writer than he ever thought possible. Palin's debut is in some ways a surprise: poignant rather than funny, skillfully paced and couched in workmanlike but hardly spectacular prose. Readers expecting Pythonesque absurdity might find themselves disappointed--but only at first; with patience, this book unfolds its more subtle pleasures with understated aplomb.From the Publisher:
"His book is well paced, his prose carefully hewn, his characters fully developed and convincingly human. And his comic timing is impeccable." -- The Washington Post
"This book's strengths are...its dry, deftly understated wit; its careful plot and character construction; its clever, on-the-money dialogue...Those pleasures carry you a long way." --The New York Times Book Review
"Funnyman Palin brings a light touch to this yarn, treating his characters and their many weaknesses with an affection that will have readers rooting for his unlikely hero." --Publishers Weekly
"The spirit of Hemingway is evident in Palin's prose." --The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
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Book Description Arrow. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Bookseller Inventory # G0749319305I4N00
Book Description Arrow. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G0749319305I3N00
Book Description MANDARIN. Book Condition: Good. . Bookseller Inventory # L10D-00730
Book Description London: Mandarin, 1996. Soft cover. Book Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall. Mass Market Paperback. Very Good Plus. First Paperback Edition. 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall. Very nice copy of this novel with some slight edge wear and some creases on the spine. Written by one of the founding members of Monty Python. Bookseller Inventory # 000297
Book Description Arrow, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Very Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. Though second-hand, the book is still in very good shape. Minimal signs of usage may include very minor creasing on the cover or on the spine. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1362512
Book Description Arrow, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. This book is in good condition but will show signs of previous ownership. Please expect some creasing to the spine and/or minor damage to the cover. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1022448
Book Description Arrow, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Acceptable. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. The book is perfectly readable and fit for use, although it shows signs of previous ownership. The spine is likely creased and the cover scuffed or slightly torn. Textbooks will typically have an amount of underlining and/or highlighting, as well as notes. If this book is over 5 years old, then please expect the pages to be yellowing or to have age spots. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1099901
Book Description Mandarin, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Very Good condition with no significant faults. Clearly used but very few minor defects. Will look good on your book case after reading but may not be suitable as a present unless hard to find elsewhere SECURE DAILY POSTING FROM UK. 30 DAY GUARANTEE. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002335384
Book Description Arrow 01/04/1996, 1996. Book Condition: Good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780749319304
Book Description Arrow 01/04/1996, 1996. Book Condition: Very Good. This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780749319304