Long Live the Post Horn! Vigdis Hjorth, trans. Charlotte Barslund
I’ll confess that I read this book pretty much solely because it involves saving a postal service, and I’ve been reading a few books which involve post and postal services in order to stock up on reviews for Postcrossing’s blog. Long Live the Post Horn! is a drifting, rambling novel in which a woman having a mid-life crisis about everything being fake and meaningless recovers her passion through getting involved in the fight to save the postal service from an EU initiative to introduce competition.
The problem for me is that rambling, wishy-washy quality — that stream-of-consciousness has never been my style. There are a couple of bits I liked, bits which capture some of the joy of post in particular, and also a scene in which the main character’s boyfriend explains he sends letters to himself as a sort of life coach — something about that felt distinctive and endearing, rather than kind of generic as in the rest of the book.
Not one I enjoyed — the narrator who never quite knows what she’s doing or why will never really work for me — but I’m sure there are people who will.
It’s been a while since I posted one of these here! But I’m trying to be more present again now… So let’s have a reading check-in!
What are you currently reading?
Long Live the Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth. It is… not really my thing; the rambling reflective narration is not working for me. It’s mostly for Postcrossing’s blog, though, so I’m forging my way along, slowly. Presumably the main character is going to care about working with the Norwegian postal service sometime soon.
I’m also partway through rereading The Gabriel Hounds, which I have fond memories of — partially memories of buying it while I was in Italy, my BA graduation present oh these many years ago, and reading it on the train between Naples and Rome.
What have you recently finished reading?
Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock, also for Postcrossing’s blog — it never rains but it pours; I’m stocking up blog posts for the next little while in case I come over all contrary and don’t feel like reading anything about postcards/postal systems. (This is bound to happen at some point.) I loved it; it’s a very tactile experience, since it actually contains the letters in actual envelope-like pouches, so you have to carefully slip them out and unfold them. I’m intrigued by the mystery of it.
Before that was Holy Shit, by Melissa Mohr — thank you to whoever recommended me that, though I’ve forgotten who. It was great; the chapter on oath-taking in the Bible was particularly fascinating.
What will you be reading next?
Sadly, it will not be Sabine’s Notebook (the sequel to Griffin & Sabine) because that’s in the post to me, having been only ordered today when I closed Griffin & Sabine on that cliffhanger. As ever, the answer is probably a shrug emoji, though I do want to go back to and finish Monstrous Regiment (Terry Pratchett), and a revisit of A Wizard of Earthsea seems indicated, because it’s a book club book (we all got together and picked our favourite books, then 12 of those got picked out of the hat to serve as prompts for a year of reading) and I still haven’t read the illustrated edition.