Tom Jackson spends far too much time digging through boxes of sun-bleached vintage postcards, collecting their forgotten messages. In Postcard from the Past he orchestrates this archive of discarded scribblings into a symphony of voices, glimpses into past lives and tantalising hints of stories at once everyday and bizarre.
Lovingly written in rainy campsites and over grim hotel breakfasts, on sweltering beaches and in windy seaside car parks, these missives from another era form a nostalgic, off-kilter, and often hilarious tribute to the British character.
Our lives on the back of a postcard.
Reviews of Postcard from the Past
‘Resurrecting these postcards, relics of forgotten times and forgotten holidays, was the simplest and most brilliant idea. Tom Jackson combines the images with just a few of the words scribbled on the back, and his eye for the choice sentence, the perfect phrase, is miraculous. Thanks to his assiduous, obsessive work as collector and curator, each one of these postcards becomes a poem, a short story, an elegy for lost England, a work of art’ Jonathan Coe
‘What a funny, clever, poignant idea. Postcard from the Past contains not just 150 very short stories, each one of which bears comparison with the work of Alan Bennett, Stevie Smith and Marcel Proust, but also lovely, picturesque views of coves, chines, promenades, escarpments and the Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster. You will wish you were there’ Andy Miller, author of The Year of Reading Dangerously
‘A marvel. With these gnomic fragments of our holidaying past Tom Jackson has illuminated the banal lyricism of the British condition, a deadpan miscellany of wan nostalgia, profound melancholy, stoic humour and inexplicable dread. The necessary survival text for post-Brexit Britain’ Andrew Male
‘Brilliant and hilarious’ Jeremy Dyson, The League of Gentlemen
‘The most addictively British Twitter feed ever has become a book. I may never leave the house again’ Viv Groskop
‘Each card is like an unfinished one act play. I find myself filling in the blanks’ Adrian Edmondson
‘The bleak yet beautiful poetry of people at their leisure is a joy to read’ Phill Jupitus
‘A gorgeous pre-Twitter look at life through a holiday lens’ Jenny Éclair
‘Heartwarming, touching, hilarious and – sometimes – slightly worrying’ Jonathan Harvey
‘These terrific postcards capture the longing, anger and mundanity that are unique to British holidaymaking’ Stuart Heritage, author of Don’t Be a Dick, Pete
‘There’s material for fifty novels here, it’s an utter joy’ Lissa Evans, author of Crooked Heart