The High Mountains of Portugal

The High Mountains of Portugal

A Novel

Book - 2016
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In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artifact that, if he can find it, would redefine history. Traveling in one of Europe's earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure. Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the center of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás's quest. Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2016
ISBN: 9780812997170
0812997174
Characteristics: 332 p. ; 22 cm

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m
myreadingworld
Oct 07, 2018

This was definitely not the book for me. Too esoteric. The use of words, the style of writing, was wonderful though, as one would expect from this author, but for me the story itself was ... blah.

f
FabulouslyWeird
May 07, 2018

This was a memorable read. By briefly settling on three different people experiencing different losses Yann Martel brings their feelings to our own experiences with loss and how we move forward from them. There is so much i could talk about but it should be left for readers to discover themselves. It resonated so strongly with me and the losses i have felt for those gone and those gone while living. This was a phenomenal read to discover.

k
kwsmith
Apr 01, 2018

As always, Martel writes in religious allegory. His complex tales are filled with subtle magical absurdity that is entirely up to us to interpret. His excellent earlier book, *Life of Pi,* likens life to a story, quietly suggesting a story that includes God is the better story. *The High Mountains of Portugal* asks us to consider if a story with God is also necessary because a difficult life without a framework of meaning is impossible to endure. Or perhaps Martel is just writing about automobiles, autopsies, and apes. But I suppose that wouldn't be the better story.

k
kimh454
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.

s
spiderfelt_0
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.

s
sneha
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.

b
brangwinn
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.

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