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"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 Mandarin, 1996. Soft cover. Condition: New. 1st Edition. Wonderful book! There's just a taste of the silliness that you would expect from a member of Monty Python, and it is expertly woven into the tale. I suggest this book to anyone who likes a good story told well. Mass Market Paperback Publisher: MANDARIN (1996) Language: English ISBN-10: 0749319305 ISBN-13: 978-0749319304 ASIN: B001KTR8F0 Package Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces. Seller Inventory # ABE-1525381757734