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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' 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.
Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, The High Mountains of Portugal - part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable - offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss, asking questions about faith and lack of faith that are at the heart of all of Yann Martel's novels.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By green ice cream garden on 03-07-16
This book earns 5 stars because, like the proverbial onion, it has layers and layers to ponder for months to come. It's a surreal journey, over generations, that make you think about faith, loss, "progress" and extinction. I particularly enjoyed the funny little connections from past to future, the best example being walking backwards. It's not a spoiler, but the practice of walking backwards is just one of the many fairy tale like elements in this book that make you consider that even when you want to resist moving forward, it's inevitable.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Kelly on 10-31-16
Rich & Lyrical - with way Too Much Religion.
This book is beautifully written. The style is complex, nuanced, musical. It is lovely to listen to. I was enchanted by Tómas and all of Part 1. But then I came to Part II and the religious lecture that went on and on and on. My ability to follow the mystery of the story, and get to know these new characters was completely lost. I found my mind drifting away from the story and onto real life. I rewound and tried again -- three times! Then I hit fast forward hoping to find story again that would captivate and charm me. It never happened. I was halfway into a book and no longer interested.
Here is the odd thing. Some of my favorite books are written by John Irving who uses religion throughout. His characters are sometimes zealots, sometimes heathens and always affected by the themes of Christianity. What is the difference? For me, Irving always feels like he uses religion to build character development. He is sometime reverent but usually irreverent. This book felt more like a sermon and left me feeling as though the author had an agenda.
So how do I rate it? Two stars -- if I were rating Part 1 I would give it 4, but I could only give Part 2 1 and that would be generous. I came down to an average of 2.
Now, as to Mark Bramhall's performance? It was outstanding! I loved his interpretation of the words. I loved the sweet and silly performance of Tómas the backwards walking, grieving, lovable oddball in Part 1. Absolutely perfect.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful