Postcards from the Edge

Posted by R. Berg on May 08, 2003

In Reply to: Postcards from the Edge posted by ESC on May 08, 2003

: : His, folks,

: : My name is Elaine. I am a translator. I have been translating into Portuguese a book called The Jericho Principle. Of course, there are a lot of phrases and expressions that I could not find in any dictionary. Could please help with this one?
: : The sentence is the following:
: : The Jericho Principle focuses on creating awareness thru a "postcards-from-the-edge" perspective while sugesting pragmatic lessons and operational implications.
: : What does postcards-from-the-edge perspective mean? I know that this is the title of a movie. By the way, I haven´t watch this movie! So, I AM LOST IN SPACE! Don´t have a clue on what this expression means.
: : Tks a lot for your valuable help.

: I saw the movie and read the book -- a work of fiction by Carrie Fisher (daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds). And I don't know what that means either.

: I looked up the book on and will paste in a couple of reviews. The character had drug problems, went into rehab, worked out problems with her mother.

: "Suzanne Vale is funny and famous, a thirty-ish actress who has crash-landed in rehab, and navigated the humorous and harrowing byways of all of her addictions...even love. Tough yet fragile, she's hanging on -- and she's not sure why."

: "Postcards from the Edge is quite different from the movie, however. The movie has a linear story that is quite clearly autobiographical for Fisher--Suzanne Vail is a young star undergoes a stomach pump, then drug rehabilitation, and it all is the result of early fame, and a famous mother that the star has yet to really come to terms with. The book, although similar in parts, has a 'postcard' feel. The early section is told through the diary entries of Suzanne and Alex, an addicted young screenwriter. Later sections, told only through the point of view of Suzanne, range from entirely dialogue through more traditional third person narrative. Fisher understands the process of addiction, that searching for escape, then denial, then endless justification. Her portrayal of drug addiction goes beyond drugs--I've never taken any, but I could see the patterns of addiction in terms of my many vices. She also understands the glad-handing movie culture enough to be able to depict it as glamorous, while also showing the pimples underneath..."

I understand "postcards from the edge" as a phrase that conveys its meaning by being evocative rather than having a literal referent. The edge is the outermost place to stand on above a metaphorical cliff. Falling (or jumping) off means a disastrous descent into craziness or addiction. The idea of sending postcards in such a desperate situation has some humor to it. So postcards from the edge are, roughly, messages from one who is half crazy but not so crazy as to have stopped wanting to communicate with people.