“Postmark Bayou Chene” by Gwen Roland, LSU Press
In 1907, an old letter from Europe finally arrives in Bayou Chene. And a dog tied to an empty skiff is saved.
These are the beginnings of events that will affect the three main characters and others in “Postmark Bayou Chene.”
The novel opens with the day’s story told from the viewpoint of each of those characters, which felt a tad slow. But the information and personalities introduced in that slow start are important.
After that, the pace picks up and the story is filled with events based on folk stories of the area.
It’s those stories and history that give the book its strengths. It tells about life at the beginning of the 20th century and how the people of this town surrounded by water embraced the changes that were coming.
The novel is filled with the good and the bad of life on the water. People die or just disappear. Others appear, often brought to town by the river. While some cling to traditions, others embrace new technology to expand business and allow Bayou Chene to reach beyond its banks.
Overall, “Postmark Bayou Chene” gives a good look at a lifestyle that has mostly disappeared from Louisiana.