A huge international bestseller, with over 2 million copies sold worldwide, Night Train to Lisbon is an utterly compelling novel about one man's escape from a humdrum life in search of passion and spontaneity.
Pascal Mercier was born in 1944 in Bern, Switzerland, and currently lives in Berlin, where he is a professor of philosophy. Night Train to Lisbon is his third novel.
In Swiss novelist Mercier's U.S. debut, Raimund Gregorius is a gifted but dull 57-year-old high school classical languages teacher in Switzerland. After a chance meeting with a Portuguese woman in the rain, he discovers the work of a Portuguese poet and doctor, Amadeu de Prado, persecuted under Salazar's regime. Transfixed by the work, Gregorius boards a train for Lisbon, bent on discovering Prado's fate and on uncovering more of his work. He returns to the sites of Prado's life and interviews the major players-Prado's sisters, lovers, fellow resistors and estranged best friend-and begins to lose himself. The artful unspooling of Prado's fraught life is richly detailed: full of surprises and paradoxes, it incorporates a vivid rendering of the Portuguese resistance to Salazar. The novel, Mercier's third in Europe, was a blockbuster there. Long philosophical interludes in Prado's voice may not play as well in the U.S., but the book comes through on the enigmas of trying to live and write under fascism. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Raimund Gregorius, a Swiss professor of classical languages, is crossing a rainy bridge in Bern when a mysterious woman writes a phone number on his forehead and utters a single word in Portuguese. Later that day, he wanders into a bookstore and finds himself drawn to a Portuguese book titled A Goldsmith of Words, self-published in Lisbon 30 years earlier. These unexplained and seemingly unrelated events conspire to tear myopic bookworm Gregorius out of his solitary and unvarying existence and send him to Lisbon in search of both the woman and Amadeu de Prado, the book's (fictional) author. This third novel by the pseudonymous Mercier caused a sensation in Europe and spent 140 weeks on the German best-sellers lists, feats unlikely to be duplicated in the United States because of the book's slow pacing. Patient readers will be rewarded, however, by the involving, unpredictable, and well-constructed plot and Mercier's virtuosic orchestration of a large and memorable cast of characters. As the stories of Gregorius and de Prado draw together, this becomes a moving meditation on the defining moments in our lives, the "silent explosions that change everything." Recommended for all fiction collections.--Forest Turner, Suffolk Cty. House of Correction Lib., Boston Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Night Train to Lisbon is a novel of ideas that reads like a
thriller: an unsentimental journey that seems to transcend time and
space. Every character, every scene, is evoked with an incomparable
economy and a tragic nobility redolent of the mysterious hero, whom
we only ever encounter through the eyes of others... Pascal Mercier
now takes his rightful place among our finest European novelists.
-- Daniel Johnson * Sunday Telegraph *
If you liked Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, you'll love international bestseller, Night Train to Lisbon. * Image *
A meditative novel that builds uncanny power...Night Train to Lisbon maintains a remarkable immediacy that makes for a rare reading pleasure. -- Joseph Olshan * San Francisco Chronicle *