Get in Touch


Book Who's Talking...Denis Theriault

Wednesday 26th Nov 2014

Danielle Culling

Book Who's Talking...Denis Theriault

Any Mr B's regular who has come into our enclave over the last couple of months will no doubt have had the experience of me bounding over, arms outstretched with book in hand, insisting "You simply must read this!". I happened upon 'The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman' a few months before it was released. Blessed are the booksellers as they shall receive proofs and previews. One lunchtime the unthinkable had happened and I was without reading material (well, 'without reading material' is a bit of a stretch, my 'to read' mountain at home is becoming a genuine hazard. I was about to head to the park from work and there was not a book nestled in my bag (a bag without a book, I KNOW!)) So to the pile of proofs I wandered. My attention was caught by a slim volume with stunningly simple art work. Off I trotted to a quiet corner of greenery, away from the students with less quiet lunchtime pursuits, opened the pages and OOH before I even knew what had happened my lunch hour had somehow turned into a lunch hour and a half (sshhhhh, don't tell Mr B!).


The story of our protagonist, Bilodo, captivated me immediately in both its beauty and its darkness. I find it hard to think of a reader who would not find something to take from this tale. We quickly asked if he would join in our interview series so we could see what has inspired him when it comes to his own reading. 

As usual at the bottom of the interview we will have a link to all of the books he has mentioned. You will find 'The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman' nestled amongst our favourites of the year in the Christmas Catalogue, which means it is a bargain with 10% off. 




1)     If you were to be stuck in a lift for three hours with any character from literature, who would it be?


I first thought of Scheherazade, whose talent for storytelling could certainly help to kill time. But after further consideration, I would prefer it to be Alice (from Wonderland) for two good reasons: firstly, I was in love with her when I was a kid; secondly, she is really good at getting herself out of weird places and confined areas.


2)     What was the last book the produced an outpouring of emotion in you? A snort of laughter or tears into a handkerchief?


Some books made me laugh, some made me cry. Some others, much rarer, made me oscillate between the two emotions, like A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. This novel is one of the funniest and at the same time one of the most moving that I have read.


3)      Which book do you really wish you had written?


Perfume, by Patrick Süskind. A masterpiece in my opinion.



4)      Which book did you make your parents read and re-read to you when you were younger?


Tintin - any of them. Every morning when I was a kid, my mother read me a few pages of Tintin. This is how I learned to read before going to school. Even today, Tintin in Tibet, Hergé's most poetic work, remains in my view a model of well constructed fiction narrative.



5)      What one passage from any book you have read has always stuck with you and why?


It is a passage from the novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, by Yukio Mishima. In this passage, the protagonist, Mizoguchi, spies on a young woman as she presses her bare breast to extract a little breast milk that she then pour into her lover's tea without his knowing. Why does this passage haunt me? I do not know. Perhaps because of the strange erotic poetry that emerges from it? Still, this passage has stuck with me for years. I cannot help referring to it in my own novels. Which indeed is the case in The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, at the beginning of Chapter 9…



6)      What is the current read on your bedside table?


I always have several books on my bedside table. I am presently reading Winston and Clementine: the Personal Letters of the Churchills, and will soon begin The Circle, by Dave Eggers. Then my next read after that will be Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.


7)      We know you are not meant to judge a book by its cover but we all do, so confess…tell us which book you read purely down to aesthetics, and did it live up to expectations?


I was maybe eight years old. There was only one bookshop in the small mining town where I was born, and I liked to enter that mysterious little shop full of books. One day, I came across a novel on the cover of which was depicted a huge shark opening its mouth as if about to devour me. It was a big 800-page book - a real reading challenge for the kid I was, and it was expensive too - about 3$, a fortune to me at the time. But I bought it anyway because of this picture on the cover that fascinated me. 

And it proved a fantastic reading experience!

As if I were myself a shark, I devoured the book in just a few days and nights. Its author was Jules Verne, and the title was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It made me a passionate young reader, and probably sparked my future vocation as a writer.


8)      You meet a person who is not a reader at all but they’re prepared to give it a go with your ONE suggestion….what book do you press into their hands?


I would see it as a big responsibility. After hesitating between a dozen titles of short novels, I think the book I would put into the hands of this potential reader would be The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, by Luis Sepulveda.



Thank you to Denis, some fantastic choices to explore! If these have inspired you with some further reading click here for our Very Important Book List! 

Book Who's Talking...Denis Theriault

Wednesday 26th Nov 2014

Book Who's Talking...Denis Theriault »
Book Who's Talking...Sally Green

Wednesday 19th Nov 2014

Book Who's Talking...Sally Green »
Mr B's Christmas Catalogue 2014

Monday 17th Nov 2014

Mr B's Christmas Catalogue 2014 »

Wednesday 12th Nov 2014

Book Who's Talking...Rachel Joyce »

Wednesday 5th Nov 2014

Book Who’s Talking…Nick Harkaway »

Wednesday 29th Oct 2014

Book Who's Talking...Margaret Atwood »

Friday 24th Oct 2014

MORE exciting news! »

Saturday 11th Oct 2014

Bogs are My Bag - A Toilet-Inspired Competition for Kids! »

Friday 10th Oct 2014

Competition Winner! »

Monday 6th Oct 2014

Mrs B's Bog Blog - or a serious case of Toilet-Envy »

Tuesday 23rd Sep 2014

Competition Time! »

Tuesday 9th Sep 2014

Mr B's welcomes to the stage..Sarah Waters! »

Tuesday 19th Aug 2014

Station Eleven »

Monday 30th Jun 2014

Emma's Non Fiction Venture with Laurie Lee »

Sunday 19th Jan 2014

Tremendous Tuesday Book Group »

Monday 16th Dec 2013

Mr B's 2013 Christmas Catalogue »

Thursday 28th Nov 2013

Marvellous Monday Book Group »

Friday 22nd Nov 2013

Proust Support Group Meeting: 18th November »

Tuesday 5th Nov 2013

Proust Support Group Volume IV »

Thursday 17th Oct 2013

Marvellous Monday Book Group Meeting 14th October »

Friday 11th Oct 2013

Support Group: The Sound and the Fury Part IV »

Friday 20th Sep 2013

Support Group: The Sound and the Fury »

Monday 12th Aug 2013

Support Group Meeting: The Sound and the Fury »

Monday 29th Jul 2013

Proust Support Group 22nd July Meeting »

Thursday 18th Jul 2013

Proust Support Group: Volume III, Ch. 2 »

Monday 1st Jul 2013

Marvellous Monday Book Group 24th June »

Monday 17th Jun 2013

Proust Support Group: Wed 5th June »

Wednesday 22nd May 2013

Dante Support Group: Paradisio Part II »

Sunday 21st Apr 2013

Dante Support Group: Paradiso Part I »

Sunday 7th Apr 2013

Support Group: Dante's Purgatorio Part II »

Thursday 21st Mar 2013

Support Group: Dante's Purgatorio, 18th March »

Friday 1st Mar 2013

How's The Pain? asks the Tremendous Tuesdayers »

Monday 25th Feb 2013

Support Group: Dante's Inferno 19th February »

Monday 28th Jan 2013

Support Group: Dante's Inferno 21st January »

Monday 19th Nov 2012

Mr B's Christmas Catalogue 2012 »

Tuesday 13th Nov 2012

Persephone Book Group Special! »

Sunday 4th Nov 2012

Proust Volume the Second, Meeting the Third »

Thursday 18th Oct 2012

Proust Volume II, Meeting II »

Thursday 18th Oct 2012

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 15th October »

Sunday 16th Sep 2012

Proust Volume II: Tuesday 11th September »

Monday 10th Sep 2012

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 3rd September »

Sunday 19th Aug 2012

'Goodbye' Lanark Tuesday 14th August »

Sunday 5th Aug 2012

Lanark Meeting 1st August 2012 »

Wednesday 1st Aug 2012

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 23rd July »

Sunday 15th Jul 2012

Lanark: Book the Second »

Sunday 24th Jun 2012

Shades of Gray »

Friday 8th Jun 2012

A Muse to Shout About »

Thursday 17th May 2012

Let's Bring the Summer! »

Tuesday 15th May 2012

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 14th May »

Monday 7th May 2012

Proust Support Group: 30th April »

Thursday 5th Apr 2012

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 2nd April »

Thursday 5th Apr 2012

Proust V: Once more unto the Breach »

Sunday 1st Apr 2012

Proust Four: 20th March »

Friday 23rd Mar 2012

Recent Raves »

Friday 23rd Mar 2012

Peru, Paris and a poignant pilgrimage make this Sunday something to look forward to! »

Friday 23rd Mar 2012

Approaching Book Group News »

Thursday 15th Mar 2012

Proust Meeting 3: 28th Feb »

Sunday 4th Mar 2012

It all kicks off in style! »

Thursday 1st Mar 2012

Marvellous Monday Book Group: 27th February »

Sunday 12th Feb 2012

Proust Support Group - Meeting II »

Friday 3rd Feb 2012

Resolutions – can they survive their second month? »

Thursday 2nd Feb 2012

More Book Groupery »

Sunday 15th Jan 2012

Proust Support Group: Inaugural Meeting »

Thursday 22nd Dec 2011

The Book Group Round-Up »

Sunday 18th Dec 2011

Ulysses: Ultimate 5th December 2011 »

Friday 25th Nov 2011

Ulysses Support Group: Penultimate »

Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011

Mr B's 2011 Christmas Catalogue »

Tuesday 22nd Nov 2011

When Small Things Pack a Punch »

Friday 18th Nov 2011

Spook-School 101 – Michelle Paver tells us how she wrote Dark Matter »

Wednesday 16th Nov 2011

A bookshop thinking outside the box - and into the bar »

Sunday 13th Nov 2011

Ulysses Support Group: 9th November »

Tuesday 8th Nov 2011

When Authors Adopt - Advice on Wintry Reads »

Sunday 6th Nov 2011

Book Groupery: Halloween »

Thursday 27th Oct 2011

Ulysses Support Group Update »

Friday 21st Oct 2011

All aboard as Mr B’s sets sail for its second packed-out event of this latest season. »

Friday 14th Oct 2011

Tuesday 18th October – Murakami Day at Mr B’s »

Wednesday 12th Oct 2011

Mr B's Delightful Book Groups »

Saturday 24th Sep 2011

Kate's Reading Challenge 2011 »

Friday 23rd Sep 2011

Off to a good start...Libby's Reading Year »

Thursday 22nd Sep 2011

Mrs B's Reading Diary »

Thursday 22nd Sep 2011

When I'm not selling, I'm reading....Ed's Reading Year »

Thursday 22nd Sep 2011

A Little Light Reading - Harvey's books so far »

Wednesday 21st Sep 2011

Introduction Blog - a small hello from Becky »

Wednesday 21st Sep 2011

Nic's Reading Year So Far »

Tuesday 20th Sep 2011

Here we are again..Lucinda opens our new site blogging account »

Tuesday 20th Sep 2011

General Eisenmeower approves... »