Reviews

Postal Lit

Shyla Seller

In Long Live the Post Horn! (Verso Books; translated by Charlotte Barslund) Vigdis Hjorth turns her tightly crafted and propulsive writing style to the subject of Norwegian postal workers, their labour union and the media consultancy group hired to help the union members fight the implementation of the EU postal directive in their jurisdiction. The result is an odd story, driven by public opinion experts and their self-doubts, personal tragedies and existential crises swirling amidst the politics of big labour, the exquisite belief of the postal workers in the value of their work as a social good, and the cold, fearsome inevitability of progress within global capitalism. While everything else in the world is falling apart, there is one thing left to count on: the profoundly honourable and personal work of interpreting handwriting, turning dead letters into living ones and uniting Norway and its citizens through an adequate, affordable and reliable postal system. Hjorth excels at presenting the machinations behind a seemingly bland piece of legislation—one hardly worth looking up from your phone for—and establishing an understanding of its dire consequences for society. If we allow the post to be destroyed, we allow ourselves to be destroyed, too.

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Shyla Seller

Shyla Seller works as an archivist and editor in Vancouver, on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.


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