Synopses & Reviews
A huge international best seller, this ambitious novel spanning Europe and the twentieth century 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 spent 140 weeks on the best-seller list and went on to become one of Europe's biggest literary blockbusters in the last five years, Night Train to Lisbon now introduces to the English language world the critically acclaimed Swiss author Pascal Mercier. It is an astonishing novel, a large-scale international literary feat in the vein of Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Daniel Kehlmann, and 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 with a vast knowledge of Greek and Hebrew 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. Chafing against his solitary routine for the first time in his life, 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.
Recalling Bernhard Schlink and Nicole Krauss in its affirmation of the power of literature, will, and the individual, Night Train to Lisbon is a book of sensual beauty and artistic excellence, one that will be remembered for its soul and wit as well as its universality and great intellectual depth.
"One of the great European novels of the past few years." Page des libraires (France)
"For me, this beautiful book, philosophical inquiry included, lit a fuse that snaked its way into my consciousness, sending out sparklers of light that made me feel more alive, more awake, for days. I hated to see it come to an end. What more can one ask?" The Oregonian
"The text of Amadeu's writing is filled not with mere nuggets of wisdom but with a mother lode of insight, introspection and an honest, self-conscious person's illuminations of all the dark corners of his own soul." Seattle Times
"One reads this book almost breathlessly, can hardly put it down....A handbook for the soul, intellect, and heart." Die Welt (Germany)
"Night Train to Lisbon taps into some of the oldest veins of story, the primal ones of night journeys, of a distant land, of being stuck in-place, and yet adrift and confused....I'm not sure how much this book might teach any of us how to live...but it has helped remind this reader of what it is to really read." Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company
"A book in which poetry and philosophy are intimately intertwined." Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland)
Raimund Gregorius teaches classical languages at a Swiss lycée, and lives a life governed by routine. One day, a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman inspires him to question his lifeand leads him to an extraordinary book that will open the possibility of changing it. Inspired by the words of Amadeu de Prado, a doctor whose intelligence and magnetism left a mark on everyone who met him and whose principles led him into a confrontation with Salazars dictatorship, Gergorius boards a train to Lisbon. As Gregorius becomes fascinated with unlocking the mystery of who Prado was, an extraordinary tale unfolds.