Night Train to Lisbon

Pascal Mercier, Author, Barbara Harshav, Translator , trans. from the German by Barbara Harshav. Grove $25 (438p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1858-5

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/05/2007
Release date: 12/01/2007
Paperback - 438 pages - 978-0-8021-4397-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4558-4969-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4558-7036-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-4966-6
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-55584-923-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-6452-8
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-78239-089-3
Open Ebook - 235 pages - 978-1-84887-317-9
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