Night Train to Lisbon

Night Train to Lisbon

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
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A huge international best seller, this ambitious novel plumbs the depths of our shared humanity to offer up a breathtaking insight into life, love, and literature itself. A major hit in Germany that went on to become one of Europe's biggest literary blockbusters in the last five years, Night Train to Lisbon is an astonishing novel, a compelling exploration of consciousness, the possibility of truly understanding another person, and the ability of language to define our very selves. Raimund Gregorius is a Latin teacher at a Swiss college who one day--after a chance encounter with a mysterious Portuguese woman--abandons his old life to start a new one. He takes the night train to Lisbon and carries with him a book by Amadeu de Prado, a (fictional) Portuguese doctor and essayist whose writings explore the ideas of loneliness, mortality, death, friendship, love, and loyalty. Gregorius becomes obsessed by what he reads and restlessly struggles to comprehend the life of the author. His investigations lead him all over the city of Lisbon, as he speaks to those who were entangled in Prado's life. Gradually, the picture of an extraordinary man emerges--a doctor and poet who rebelled against Salazar's dictatorship.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, c2008.
ISBN: 9780802118585
0802118585
Branch Call Number: MERCIER
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm.

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LPL_TriciaK Apr 19, 2014

This book took me a long, long time to read, but I am glad I stuck with it. A very philosophical book -- it asks the reader to imagine what would happen if you questioned everything about your life and started a new existence.
The main character in this book does exactly that, using a book writt... Read More »


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LPL_TriciaK Apr 19, 2014

This book took me a long, long time to read, but I am glad I stuck with it. A very philosophical book -- it asks the reader to imagine what would happen if you questioned everything about your life and started a new existence.
The main character in this book does exactly that, using a book written by a Portuguese doctor to as a tool for self-discovery.

If you want to be prompted to think more deeply about life, who you truly are, and about human nature in general, read this book.

s
Sanrin
Jan 05, 2014

Started out interesting: a staid professor of ancient languages at a university in Switzerland has a chance encounter with a mysterious Portuguese woman, and abruptly leaves his predictable life to take a night train to Lisbon. Written by a philosophy professor, the story seemed to gradually degrade into a plot of ideas, where characters were less complex personalities and more intellectual or emotional stimuli for the main character. I abandoned the book after getting about 1/3 of the way through it.

p
poledownunder
Dec 30, 2012

Quite an erudite novel, borderline navel gazing and as a consequence a bit hard to read. No action, 400 pages happen in the characters' minds. Nevertheless, some interesting insights and worth reading. Good introduction into the recent Portuguese history too.

CaseyQ Sep 05, 2012

Beautiful language, fascinating story

debwalker Oct 20, 2011

Vanessa Redgrave, Melanie Laurent and Bruno Ganz have been added to the cast of Night Train to Lisbon, director Bille August's adaptation of the novel by Pascal Mercier. They join an impressive cast that also includes Jeremy irons, Christopher Lee, Lena Olin, Martina Gedeck and Jack Huston. Variety reported that the movie will go into production next month and is scheduled to begin filming in March 2012.

b
Bookwoman247
Sep 16, 2010

Raimund Gregorious is a complete creature of habit. He teaches classical languages at a lycee in Bern. His entire life has been absorbed in studying and teaching these ancient languages. He is such a dry scholar that he has earned the nickname "Papyrus".

When he has an unexpected encounter on a bridge with a mysterious Portuguese woman, and then discovers the little-known work of a Portuguese author, Dr. Amadeu de Prado, Gregorious experiences a sudden, life-altering transformation. Instead of showing up, to work at the lycee as usual, he decides to pursue the author and find out as much about him as possible; what made him tick, etc.. He departs for Lisbon, leaving only belated, confusing explanations for his colleagues.

As he delves deeper into the life of Prado, he finds that Prado and many of his aquaintances were involved in the resistance against Portugal's dictator, Salazar.

This was an excellent book. The tone is very similar to Shadow of th4 Wind by Carlos Ruíz Zafon. The language was sumptous.

However, I found that as much as I loved it, my interest began to wane about two-thirds of the way through the book. That was an unusual reaction from me, and I'm not sure what caused it. There seemed to be some kind of shift where language became less important than the characters and historical events. It also became more about Prado, and less about Gregorious and his reaction to him.

Overall, though, I loved it! Not only for the language, but for giving me a chance to learn about a place and bit of history that I knew little or nothing about. Until now, Portugal wasn't much more than an extension of Spain, to me, with a nearly blank history. I was rather shocked that I hadn't known of these events that happened during my adolescence half a world away.

n
Now4Ever
Sep 07, 2010

As Library Journal well states this book "becomes a moving meditation on the defining moments in our lives, the 'silent explosions that change everything'." I couldn't put it down. If you like rich characters and profound thinking, this book is for you.

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