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Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Pascal…
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Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel (original 2004; edition 2008)

by Pascal Mercier, Barbara Harshav (Translator)

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2,245902,855 (3.8)149
Member:Yells
Title:Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel
Authors:Pascal Mercier
Other authors:Barbara Harshav (Translator)
Info:Grove Press (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:TBR 2012 & PRIOR

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Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier (2004)

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» See also 149 mentions

English (61)  Dutch (19)  Danish (4)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
READ IN DUTCH

I started reading Nighttrain to Lisbon together with quite some other frequent book-readers. I probably hadn't chosen this book by myself even though the press were very enthusiast about it. But, I didn't like it. The story seemed a bit weird, I didn't know what to think of it. And in my opinion everything happens far too easy. He finds everyone he wants to speak with, everybody is still alive. I really had to force myself to keep reading and prevent myself from putting it away. I wouldn't recommend it, but I know there are a lot of people who really like it as well. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
A Latin teacher who reads a book about life and literature and becomes obsessed with the life and teachings of that author. The teacher leaves his job and home to find out about the life of the author. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
Other readers have written very comprehensive and intelligent reviews of this wonderful novel. I will not try to do that. I was alerted to its existence by someone who was going to Portugal and I thought that it might give me the flavour of a country that I know little about. It does not overtly describe Portugal but through it one does get an idea both of the history of the Salazar period and the geography of the city of Lisbon.

I did find some of the philosophical passages hard work but many were rewarding and challenging. For example:

p.272 I start trembling at the very thought of the unplanned and unknown, but inevitable and unstoppable force with which parents leave traces in their children that, like traces of branding, can never be erased. The outlines of parental will and fear are written with a white-hot stylus in the souls of children who are helpless and ignorant of what is happening to them. We need a whole life to find and decipher the branded text and we can never be sure we have understood it.

Some of the translation was a bit odd and particular the way the translator used the verb 'to fit'. (see p. 358 para 1.) Maybe an American usage... I also found the typographic practice of putting prepositions with the noun that followed them very irritating e.g offlowers (this is not a real example). It happened so often that I wondered if it was done on purpose.

Maybe I missed something but did Gregorius ever phone the number that the Portuguese woman gave him. I would like to re-read this novel - I am sure I would appreciate it even more.

In terms of enjoyment I would rate it with Jordi Punti's 'Lost luggage'. ( )
2 vote louis69 | Oct 5, 2015 |
It is interesting to see the difference an ocean makes in book reviews. I don't mean the reviews here on Goodreads, but in such papers as the NY Times and Washington Post. Reviews of Pascal Mercier's Night Train to Lisbon written abroad are positive, while American reviews are negative or dismissive.

I love words. I love thinking about the role words play in the development of our psyche. The role they play in the development of our identity. If you do not share this fascination, NTTL may be a non-starter for you. Raimund Gregorious, called Mundus for short, or Papyrus as a joke, becomes bewitched by the sound of a single word, "português." For USA speakers who say "Port-chew-geese," this may be a stretch. Feed the word into a Portuguese translator, and you will get a better idea of the soft, sensual beauty of the word. Gregorious is a scholar of classical languages, a man highly attuned to language. In fact, his world, his religion is utterly tied to language. Before too long Gregorius has made his way to a Spanish language bookstore. I suppose finding Portuguese books in Bern, Switzerland is like finding Português wine in a U.S. grocery. File under Spain. Can't tell you how many people think I am Spanish. "You mean, Spanish and Portuguese aren't pretty much same?" There he happens upon book of essays written by a Português man with a very romantic name, Amandeu de Prado. Dictionary and language records at hand, he begins to translate the essays. Of course, this propels him on a journey to Lisbon to seek out this man whose words speak so directly to him. Just like when I first fell under the spell of Calvino, I hightailed it to Italy. Right. Here you must just go along with the author and accept that Gregorious, a man who probably has worn the same style of underwear since potty training days, drops his job, locks up his apartment, sends a letter to the school head and goes to Lisbon in search of an unknown writer. He barely speaks any Português beyond "obrigado." True, he has an uncanny facility for language. I recommend that you buy into this premise. Far more far-fetched things have happened in the world of books.

Hang on because it is a fascinating journey in which Gregorious pieces together the life of a remarkable man who would go from venerated doctor to a participant in the resistance movement against Portugal's fascist government. Salazar, the Dean of Dictators, held sway over his country longer than any other dictator in Europe. While Portugal's brand of fascism eschewed the racist tendencies of Germany and Italy, while prior to Salazar's regime Portugal was a festering mess, while Salazar kept Portugal out of WWII, thus allowing Portugal to be a safe haven for those fleeing the Holocaust, a gateway out of Europe, his reform government was still a rigid, brutal regime which kept citizens in check by use of savage secret police. As Gregorious's reads Amandeu's work, meets the people who loved him, reader enters into both Gregorious's and Amandeu's philosophic and emotional progress which become entwined.

This is a book with a bunch of words. Bunches of words about words. I happen to like that. There is not a great deal of immediate action. People talk and read and talk about what they read. I happen to like that too. Night Train is an idea driven novel. Again, I happen to like that. On the other hand, I can see why this book might be as dry as papyrus to another reader.
( )
1 vote lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
It is interesting to see the difference an ocean makes in book reviews. I don't mean the reviews here on Goodreads, but in such papers as the NY Times and Washington Post. Reviews of Pascal Mercier's Night Train to Lisbon written abroad are positive, while American reviews are negative or dismissive.

I love words. I love thinking about the role words play in the development of our psyche. The role they play in the development of our identity. If you do not share this fascination, NTTL may be a non-starter for you. Raimund Gregorious, called Mundus for short, or Papyrus as a joke, becomes bewitched by the sound of a single word, "português." For USA speakers who say "Port-chew-geese," this may be a stretch. Feed the word into a Portuguese translator, and you will get a better idea of the soft, sensual beauty of the word. Gregorious is a scholar of classical languages, a man highly attuned to language. In fact, his world, his religion is utterly tied to language. Before too long Gregorius has made his way to a Spanish language bookstore. I suppose finding Portuguese books in Bern, Switzerland is like finding Português wine in a U.S. grocery. File under Spain. Can't tell you how many people think I am Spanish. "You mean, Spanish and Portuguese aren't pretty much same?" There he happens upon book of essays written by a Português man with a very romantic name, Amandeu de Prado. Dictionary and language records at hand, he begins to translate the essays. Of course, this propels him on a journey to Lisbon to seek out this man whose words speak so directly to him. Just like when I first fell under the spell of Calvino, I hightailed it to Italy. Right. Here you must just go along with the author and accept that Gregorious, a man who probably has worn the same style of underwear since potty training days, drops his job, locks up his apartment, sends a letter to the school head and goes to Lisbon in search of an unknown writer. He barely speaks any Português beyond "obrigado." True, he has an uncanny facility for language. I recommend that you buy into this premise. Far more far-fetched things have happened in the world of books.

Hang on because it is a fascinating journey in which Gregorious pieces together the life of a remarkable man who would go from venerated doctor to a participant in the resistance movement against Portugal's fascist government. Salazar, the Dean of Dictators, held sway over his country longer than any other dictator in Europe. While Portugal's brand of fascism eschewed the racist tendencies of Germany and Italy, while prior to Salazar's regime Portugal was a festering mess, while Salazar kept Portugal out of WWII, thus allowing Portugal to be a safe haven for those fleeing the Holocaust, a gateway out of Europe, his reform government was still a rigid, brutal regime which kept citizens in check by use of savage secret police. As Gregorious's reads Amandeu's work, meets the people who loved him, reader enters into both Gregorious's and Amandeu's philosophic and emotional progress which become entwined.

This is a book with a bunch of words. Bunches of words about words. I happen to like that. There is not a great deal of immediate action. People talk and read and talk about what they read. I happen to like that too. Night Train is an idea driven novel. Again, I happen to like that. On the other hand, I can see why this book might be as dry as papyrus to another reader.
( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Stilsikker, ordrik og eksistenstung
En vidløftig, men i beste forstand politisk roman, fra Portugal under diktator Salazar.
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Jun 16, 2010)
 
Jag beklagar, men han fick inte med mig på tåget.
 
Throwing in one life to look for another

Having situated himself on the disputed border between fact and fiction, Pascal Mercier now takes his rightful place among our finest European novelists.
added by annek49 | editThe Telegraph, Daniel Johnson (Feb 24, 2008)
 
De grote klasse van het fictieve Portugese - en daarmee van het oorspronkelijk Duitstalige - boek blijkt niet alleen uit Amadeu's beschouwingen, maar ook uit daadwerkelijk gemaakte keuzes op twee beslissende momenten, of beter: uit zijn analyses van de complexiteit daarvan.
De titel Nachttrein naar Lissabon symboliseert niet alleen de reis terug in de tijd, maar verwijst ook naar een magistrale, visionaire allegorie van het ondermaanse leven in een sleutelpassage aan het eind van het (boek in het) boek.
added by sneuper | editde Volksrant, Gert Jan Dijk (Jun 6, 2006)
 
De absurditeit van Gregorius' onderneming verdwijnt in dit bijzonder helder geschreven boek niet. Een eindoordeel over de persoon Amadeu de Prado blijft uit. Gregorius is naar Lissabon vertrokken en heeft zijn distantie laten varen. “Tevergeefs', mompelt de leraar klassieke talen op een gegeven moment zomaar, over alles en niets, maar niet zonder inzicht.
added by sneuper | editNRC, Merel Leeman (May 5, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mercier, Pascalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harshav, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijerink, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pollen, GeirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802143970, Paperback)

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 life—and 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 Salazar’s dictatorship, Gergorius boards a train to Lisbon. As Gregorius becomes fascinated with unlocking the mystery of who Prado was, an extraordinary tale unfolds.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Former Latin teacher Raimund Gregorius boards the night train to Lisbon, carrying with him a book by Amadeu de Prado, with whose work he becomes obsessed, and journeys all over the city in search of the truth about the author.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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