The High Mountains of Portugal

The High Mountains of Portugal

A Novel

Book - 2016
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With this highly anticipated new novel, the author of the bestselling Life of Pi returns to the storytelling power and luminous wisdom of his master novel.
The High Mountains of Portugal is a suspenseful, mesmerizing story of a great quest for meaning, told in three intersecting narratives touching the lives of three different people and their families, and taking us on an extraordinary journey through the last century. We begin in the early 1900s, when Tom#65533;s discovers an ancient journal and sets out from Lisbon in one of the very first motor cars in Portugal in search of the strange treasure the journal describes. Thirty-five years later, a pathologist devoted to the novels of Agatha Christie, whose wife has possibly been murdered, finds himself drawn into the consequences of Tom#65533;s's quest. Fifty years later, Senator Peter Tovy of Ottawa, grieving the death of his own beloved wife, rescues a chimpanzee from an Oklahoma research facility and takes it to live with him in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, where the strands of all three stories miraculously mesh together.
Beautiful, witty and engaging, Yann Martel's new novel offers us the same tender exploration of the impact and significance of great love and great loss, belief and unbelief, that has marked all his brilliant, unexpected novels.
Publisher: Toronto :, Alfred A. Knopf Canada,, c2016
ISBN: 9780345809438
Branch Call Number: FIC Mart
Characteristics: 332 pages


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May 02, 2017

A sad book. But a wonderful one.

I welcomed the library reviews to warn me that this was 3 short stories, vaguely connected. By not trying to make sense of the plot I was better able to appreciate the pathos of this story of grief suffered by fathers who have lost their sons and the suggestion of a resolution in the returning Canadians whose father-son relationship resolves in the high mountains of their ancestral village. I could not finish Life of Pi but I am glad I had a chance to read another of Martel's books and find some enjoyment in his unusual writing style.

Jan 30, 2017

This book left me feeling like there was something I was missing. The description of a man learning to drive one of the first cars through remote villages was farcical until it turned tragic. The 2nd story veered into surrealism and the 3rd brought the first two together but left me hanging, wondering whether I had not paid close enough attention to the details or wasn't smart enough to understand the allegory.

VaughanPLUrszula Jan 23, 2017

This book spans from the early 1900's to the mid-80's and presents three stories linked by grief, chimpanzees, and the High Mountains of Portugal. Although I appreciated the intricate connections and themes explored within the stories, I found parts 2 & 3 more compelling than the lengthy part 1. Grief and making sense of living on are portrayed in a sensitive, thought-provoking manner.

Jan 09, 2017

I enjoyed this book immensely. Unlike some other commenters, I didn't mind that the book didn't have a clear plot. I loved all the detailed descriptions -- about how an early automobile works, analysis of Agatha Christie, etc -- and found the bits of connection between the three sections of the book intriguing. No, not all your questions about the plot will be answered, but that is part of the charm and mystery of this book.

KHCPL_Mikayla Dec 26, 2016

This was definitely a unique novel. Three stories set into one, each with distinctive, interesting characters that all had very different lives. The characterization and the slow pace were the most distinct aspects of Martel's novel, and this book would be good for people who like vivid settings, slow pace (only 3 chapters, each more like its own short story), and a wide range of characters.

Oct 16, 2016

I had high expectations of this book, sadly I finished the book not finding what I was expecting. The writing is excellent, but the three separate stories didn’t resonate with me. I guess it was the subject. One of my favorite aspects of fiction is quirky, well-developed characters and this book had many. I kept reading thinking the stories would take me to a satisifying end. Instead I ended each story frustrated with the development. Maybe that’s the way Martel planned it, the reader’s feeling equal that of the main character.

Oct 08, 2016

I loved the Life of Pi, in fact read it twice. In one word this book was disappointing.

multcolib_alisonk Sep 08, 2016

This set of three loosely linked novellas had me a bit confused. For one thing, it took me a while to understand that this wasn't a full length novel, as I was listening to the audio book. At times the narrative made me incredulous, the magic realism and absurdity aside; but then I'd get into the story and was bereft when one story ended and the next began.
That being said, I've been thinking about the book for weeks now, and now I'm inspired to visit this area of Portugal. The final novella was especially thought-provoking, raising questions about how humans and animals experience time, and how we approach death. So with all those caveats in mind, I recommend it!

Aug 16, 2016

If you liked 'The Life of Pi' you'll like this one. It's also about a strange journey, three of them, over 4 centuries. I wanted to find out what happened next so I kept going and also found the main characters interesting and wanted to know what happened to them. You may come away from this book with some questions unanswered.

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