Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

About the Book

Raimund Gregorius, a Swiss Classics teacher, has a strange encounter one day with a Portuguese woman on his way to work which upsets the balance of his life. Later that day, after abandoning his classes, he finds a book by a (fictional) Portuguese doctor, Amadeu de Prado, and decides to go to Lisbon to discover more about the doctor and his life.  

What I Think

I was drawn to this book by the cover. Sometimes I don't read the blurb on the back because I want to be totally surprised about what the book is about. Had I known more about this book, I probably wouldn't have read it, but I'm glad I did. It was heavy going though. I even had to stop reading it for a week and then go back to it, which is not something I do very often. However, the story was compelling enough for me to pick it up again and I really wanted to know how it was going to unfold. 

Gregorius, who sets out on a journey to discover more about de Prado, ultimately starts questioning his own life. The book that Gregorius finds in Bern, published by de Prado's sister, Adrianna, is a collection of thoughts and essays about life and people. De Prado questions human nature itself and what we, as people, are capable of.  

About the Author

Pascal Mercier is a pseudonym of Swiss author and philosopher Peter Bieri. He was born in Bern in 1944, and studied Philosophy, English studies and Indian studies in both London and Heidelberg. Bieri co-founded 'Cognition and Brain', a research unit at the German Research Foundation and has taught at various universities. Night Train to Lisbon was originally published in German as Nachtzug nach Lissabon (2004). It was translated by Barbara Harshav and published in English in 2008. The film (dir. Bille August) starring Jeremy Irons is set to be released in 2013.  


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