The Night Train to Lisbon – Pascal Mercier #20booksofsummer

#20booksofsummer by @746books


Night Train to Lisbon tells the story of mild-mannered, middle-aged Classics scholar Raimund Gregorius. When, one afternoon, he walks out of his class while in the middle of giving a lesson, his uncharacteristic impulsiveness surprises him as much as his students. This break from his usually predictable routine is driven by two chance encounters that morning on his way to work – the first with a mysterious Portuguese woman, and the second with a book discovered in a forgotten corner of an old bookshop, the journal of an enigmatic Portuguese aristocrat. With the book as his talisman, Mundus finds himself boarding the night train to Lisbon on a journey to find out more about its author, Amadeu del Prado – who was this man whose words both haunt and compel him, seeming somehow clairvoyant?

His investigations lead him all over the city, and bring him into contact with those who were entangled in Prado’s life. Gradually, he makes unexpected friends and the picture of an extraordinary man emerges: a difficult, brilliant, charismatic man, a doctor and a poet, and a rebel against Salazar’s dictatorship. And as Prado’s story comes to light so, too, Gregorius himself begins his life anew.

Hurtling through the dark, Night Train to Lisbon is a rich tale, wonderful told, propelled both by the mystery at its heart and its evocative subject.

My Thoughts:

This book is absolutely stunning! I adored it. There are passages in it when I had to take a break and think about what was just said.

The writing reminded me of the book Stoner. It’s ever so slightly detached but so thought provoking and emotional.

When Gregorius left Bern I could feel the emotions that he was feeling. The trpidation, the constant thoughts of ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ But also the excitement for what was coming and the joy of doing something that is so uncharacteristcally Gregorius.

The whole book is like reading two different books that has been so beautifully sewn together.

The book starts with Gregorius crossing the bride he has crossed every day for over 40 years. He sees a woman who looks like she is about to jump into the termultuous water below.

This woman unknowingly changes Gregorius’ life forever. She tells him that she is from Portugal and the way she says Portuguese instantly intrigues him and throughout the whole day he is distracted from his lessons, he wanders the streets and the next day he walks out in the middle of the day which he has never done before. He finds a book of notes by Amadeu Del Prado and he is completely enthralled by it. He books the night train to Lisbon and leaves Bern.

This book is an incredible story of two men who are so similar and yet so different. I see a lot of similarities between Gregorius and Amadeus, they are both incredibly intelligent and can accomplish almost anything they put their minds to.

This book made me want to learn so many more languages so I did end up ordering a Greek to English dictionary and a French to English dictionary so I could improve on both languages.

I highly recommend this book to everyone and I personally think it is one of the modern classics! You can buy it here.

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