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Search tags: Night-Train-to-Lisbon
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text 2018-11-18 15:09
Airing Aphorisms: “Night Train to Lisbon” by Pascal Mercier
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier,Barbara Harshav


(Original Review, December 21st 2007)



NB: Read in German.


Not every difficult book is by definition a good one - not every challenge is worth taking.

A good writer can do both, like Ishiguro. Write a book for the mainstream readers, to pick them up where they stand and travel with them. Or write a book so obscure that only very few will even want to go on that journey, those books are often a sign of arrogance, often more a book for them than for readers. And then you have Eco, who could mix the two.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2017-11-24 08:00
Night Train To Lisbon
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier,Barbara Harshav

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.

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text 2017-07-01 15:14
On sale
The Terror - Dan Simmons
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident - Donnie Eichar
The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier,Barbara Harshav
Mornings in Jenin Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 Reprint edition - Susan Abulhawa
Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler
Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes - Michael Sims
Medicus - Ruth Downie

On sale this month for kindle US.  

 

Also several Marvel masterworks

 

The Terror is slow, but good.

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review 2015-09-10 20:43
Philosophical, profound and intriguing
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier,Barbara Harshav

The main character, Gregorius, teaches classical languages at a Swiss lycée, and lives a life governed by routine.
One day, he comes into possession of a book, written by Prado, a deceased Portuguese aristocrat. Deeply absorbed by Prado's philosophical writings, he changes his life in order to discover more about Prado. He takes the train to Lisbon that same night, exploring Prado's life during Antonio de Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship in Portugal. Through Prado's book, he learns that the author was a doctor and poet who had taken up arms and fought against Salazar.
This book is something different and very interesting to read.

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text 2014-07-11 21:58
Night train to nowhere ...
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier

A turgid book, which has a few moments of interest at the beginning, when teacher Gregorius decides to change his life so radically that he abandons his classroom in mid-lesson. It’s certainly an exciting start (in a literary genre understanding of the concept of ‘excitement’, that is) though I thought the scene of a strange woman writing a phone number on Gregorius' head was beyond curious. At that stage, however, I was prepared to forgive this small oddity in the hope that the book’s interest would grow and deepen.

 

It didn’t. There’s a fair amount of travel in various directions, as the MC chases after the elusive (and now dead) author Prado. He meets a lot of people who make a large number of not-very-interesting and very long-winded declarations. Goodness, they do go on. The characterisation and plot gets entirely lost under a veritable barrage of words, and I abandoned all interest in the novel at a fairly early stage. Sometimes the prose is laughably bad, and there’s far too much telling and not nearly enough showing us what’s going on. Not a good combination.

 

I think it might have had a slight chance if the mysterious Prado had been a writer worth pursuing, but honestly he wasn’t. I grew very tired of his interminable book and his dull ramblings but the good news is they’re easy to skip as they’re in italics. Suffice it to say there’s a love triangle of some sort or other, but I couldn’t be bothered to understand much of the details. I also have no idea why all the women appear to be in love with Prado, as he strikes me as nothing more or less than a smug and pretentious egotist too wrapped up in his own perceived perfection to have any real time for anyone else.

 

Perhaps though, at some level, that’s the point of all this? That we all tend to pursue goals and dreams which aren’t what they appear to be, and really Gregorius would have been far better off giving the night train to Lisbon a miss, and finishing off the lesson he left so abruptly instead. The Isabel Allende quote on the front tells us she thinks it’s one of the best book she’s ever read. My suggestion would be that she widens her reading material, hey ho. Oh well.

 

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