Review: Airmail by Naomi Bulger

Title: Airmail

Author: Naomi Bulger

Published: iUniverse 2011

Synopsis: Reclusive old Mr. G.L. Solomon’s favorite things are single malt whiskey, Steve McQueen movies, and gingersnap cookies. He hates processed cheese, washing detergent commercials, and the way the teacup rattles in the saucer when he picks it up. Solomon has become accustomed to his lonely routine in Sydney, Australia-until the day he begins sporadically receiving letters in his mailbox from a complete stranger. On the other side of the world, Anouk is a mentally delicate young woman living in New York who insists she is being stalked by a fat woman in a pink tracksuit. When Anouk declares to Solomon that she is writing “from the Other Side,” the old man breaks away from his daily grind of watching soap operas and reading Fishing World and travels to New York to find her. As he is drawn into Anouk’s surreal world of stalkers and storytelling, marbles and cats, purgatory and Plato, Solomon has but one goal-to unravel the mystery before it is too late.

Status: Read on August 10, 2011 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Airmail is an enigmatic yet engaging journey from the ordinary to the surreal.
In Sydney, Australia, Mr G L Solomon lives a life of quiet routine, sipping tea and whiskey, watching daytime television and hissing at his neighbor’s cat. Yet every so often an envelope arrives in his mailbox containing a rambling letter and perhaps a trinket, from a stranger in New York. Anouk lives in a small apartment in Manhattan and writes letters to Mr G L Solomon in a desperate bid to anchor herself as she begins to quite literally ‘lose her marbles’. Caught between reality and glimpses of divine interference Anouk withdraws, her letters stop and a concerned G L Solomon eschews his everyday routine to solve the mystery of his vulnerable acquaintance.
I was immediately intrigued by the protagonists of Airmail. Anouk’s state of mind is shrouded in as much mystery as the identity of the woman in the pink velour tracksuit about whom she writes. Her emotional and mental vulnerability incite empathy and I thought her desperation to connect with her past a fascinating motivation for writing to Mr Solomon.
Mr Solomon’s stoicism in honouring the missives he receives from a complete stranger is equally as interesting. Here is a forgotten old man who forms an ethereal connection with a young woman whom he cannot even directly contact but nevertheless he is willing to abandon his familiar life in order to rescue her. For both Anouk and GL the shift from an abstract relationship to a personal acquaintance is a catalyst for personal change and redemption.
Airmail is a quirky novella with a premise that takes a decidedly surreal turn. Bulger explores themes of communication, connection and alienation from both others and self. It has a dark tone intertwined with moments of humour and tenderness. It’s not the story I was expecting when I accepted the book for review from the author, I wouldn’t identify it as magical realism but something more speculative and abstract, nevertheless I found it an engaging story.  Airmail is not a light novel despite being a short read at just 103 pages as the author keeps the reader off balance by softening the boundaries of reality. To be honest, I’m not sure I fully comprehended the author’s message but I did find it a thought provoking tale and readers with a philosophical bent will likely find Airmail an entertaining novel.

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Naomi Bulger will be joining me tomorrow at Book’d Out with a guest post and giveaway of her book, Airmail, make sure you stop by!

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Available to Purchase @

Alibris
Amazon
Angus & Robertson
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Booko
Booksamillion
Books on Board
Books Unlimited
Booktopia
Borders
Chapters.Indigo
Diesel-ebooks
Direct ebooks
Discount Book Sale
eBook Pie
Eruditor
Fishpond
Flipkart
Go Bookstore
Green Pandora
India Times
Infibeam
iUniverse
Kobo books
LangLang
Pages ebooks
Powell’s Books
Superbookshop
Take2
Tesco
Waterstones
WH Smith

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Giveaway & Guest Post: Naomi Bulger, author of Airmail « book'd out
  2. Margaret
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:28:42

    Sounds like a great book! I’ll definitely add this one to my wishlist!

    Like

    Reply

  3. Brittany Gale
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 10:46:18

    Sounds like a great book 🙂 I look forward to reading it!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Janhvi Jagtap
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 18:55:00

    I am looking forward to reading this book!the book sounds unique and different from the recent ones in the market.

    Like

    Reply

  5. Mary Preston
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:55:24

    It has been years since I have received an Airmail letter, but I remember the thrill. I thought the review gave me a very good idea of what to expect thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    Like

    Reply

  6. Sarah Bibi Setar
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 23:04:53

    This review has captivated my attention. I love reading books where it;s difficult to understand the message behind it. I also love unusual, eccentric characters and larger-than-life situations.

    Sarah
    sarahDOTsetarATgmailDOTcom

    Like

    Reply

  7. April
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 04:25:54

    I read your review and immediatly wanted to go out and get the book.

    Like

    Reply

  8. Aik
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 22:35:50

    Thank you for your thoughtful review. Magical realism is something which I’ve rarely read before. I’d love to read this book.

    Like

    Reply

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