Night Train to Lisbon (Mercier)

Night Train to Lisbon
Pascal Mercier, 2004 (Trans., 2008)
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
438 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780802143976

Raimund Gregorius teaches classical languages at a Swiss lycée, and lives a life governed by routine. One day, a chance encounter with an enigmatic Portuguese woman inspires him to question his life—and leads him to an extraordinary book that will open the possibility of changing his existence.

He takes the train to Lisbon that same night, and with him the words of Amadeu de Prado, a doctor whose practice and principles led him into confrontation with Salazar’s dictatorship, and a man whose intelligence and magnetism left a mark on everyone who met him.

As Gregorius becomes fascinated with unlocking the mystery of who Prado was—meeting, among others, Prado’s eighty-year-old sister, who keeps the man’s house like a musem, an elderly torture survivor now confined to a nursing home, and Prado’s childhood friend and eventual partner in the resistance movement—an extraordinary tale takes shape, centered on a group of people working in utmost secrecy to fight dictatorship, and the betrayals that threaten to expose them.

A haunting tale of repression, resistance, and the universal human struggle to connect, Night Train to Lisbon is richly layered, wonderfully told, and inexorably propelled by the mystery at its heart.

Recalling Bernhard Schlink and Nicole Krauss in its affirmation of the power of literature, will, and the individual, Night Train to Lisbon is a book of sensual beauty and artistic excellence, one that will be remembered for its soul and wit as well as its universality and great intellectual depth.

A huge international best seller, Night Train to Lisbon was published in hardcover in January with a modest first printing.  It has been hailed by booksellers and critics, and embraced by readers.  As this catalog goes to press, the hardcover has gone into its fourth printing, and appeared on best-seller lists across the country. (From the publisher.)

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