The High Mountains Of Portugal: A Novel

The High Mountains Of Portugal: A Novel

Hardcover | February 2, 2016

byYann Martel

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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 Tomás 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 Tomás'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.

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The High Mountains Of Portugal: A Novel

Hardcover | February 2, 2016
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$25.42 online $32.00 (save 20%)

From the Publisher

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 an...

YANN MARTEL is the author of Life of Pi, the #1 international bestseller published in more than 50 territories that has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, won the 2002 Man Booker (among many other prizes), spent more than a year on Canadian and international bestseller lists, and was adapted to the screen in an Oscar-winning f...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.6 × 5.8 × 1.1 inPublished:February 2, 2016Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345809432

ISBN - 13:9780345809438

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a Good Read I was excited about this book as it takes place in Portugal. I was disappointed. The stories went on too long, and did not compel me to continue reading. However the Life of Pi was an outstanding read so I kept waiting for that fabulous twist. It never happened. While the three stories did tie together at the end, I felt it was weak. I was going to give it one star, but I truly did appreciate how Yann Martel described the location so well that I felt that I was in Portugal at times. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed, and would not recommend this book.
Date published: 2016-05-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A well told journey through grief In The High Mountains of Portugal, author Yann Martel has cleverly woven four tales of grief into an adventurous journey across Portugal. In Part One (1904), we meet Tomas, who mourns his lover and young son, as he drives an early Renault into the mountains in search of long lost artifact. He is following the trail of crucifix made centuries ago by Father Ulisses, a missionary to Sao Tome, who left clues to it's creation in his journal. It was also a testement to the grief of losing his faith. I was captivated by this section. I enjoyed learning of the difficulties Tomas encountered on his trip and how he strove to overcome them. In Part Two (1938), we meet pathologist Eusebio Lozora, who is expected to perform the autopsy of his wife. This is the one section of the book that I had trouble with. I admit that I really didn't understand the wife. She did draw some interesting parallels involving Agatha Christie. In Part Three (1981), Peter Tovy has just been appointed to the Canadian Senate. He is at loose ends, not having recovered from the loss of his dear wife. I loved the tale of how he ended up with a chimpanzee in Portugal. I could not put the book down once I reached this section. These four men all deal with their grief in very different ways. Mr. Martel has used the freedom of fiction to explore various ways of expressing their pain. I am left pondering this round trip, return to the high mountains. Did the journeys of these men provide a balm for their grief.
Date published: 2016-02-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Imperfect But Worth the Read Based on Reading of ARC - Contains Spoiler I'm giving this book 3.5 stars. There are three separate yet intersected stories of loss and the grieving process of ones left behind. All three grieving processes are highly unusual, and what society will deem madness. I have to ask this question, "How should a person deal with a loss of a loved one?" and "Does it have to fit the molds that the society deems acceptable?" As well, the author connects all three with the theme of religion and science existing in harmony rather than in conflict. Of the three stories, the second, titled, "Homeward" is the best. It can stand alone as a good short story. I was bored with the first story, "Homeless" about half way through because Tomas' antics and quest got tiresome, repetitive and seemed unreasonable, but if seen with the madness aspect in mind, where loss makes reasonable mind to unreasonable one, it can be accepted but I really couldn't especially in regards to the accident. The story within the first story however was good. The third story, "Home" had a sense of peace which was likely intended however, the answer to the great mystery that connects all three stories was not cathartic as I hoped. In a style like this where things lead up to the final story, pulling off a home-run is harder than it seems. "Homeward", the best of the three, appealed to me because it was the only one where I got to know a bit of those loved ones who past away, hence I felt the loss along with the protagonist, and the dark, surreal path it concluded made sense to me based on protagonist occupation. As usual in Yann Martel's works, there are allegories and animals present. There is wonderful sense of moods in all three created by expert writer which I appreciated.
Date published: 2015-11-13

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Editorial Reviews

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER“The High Mountains of Portugal, not just a story about home but about how home is a story and not a place, falls solidly on the hit side. . . . [A] remarkable novel.” —Maclean’s“[A] wonderfully inventive, twentieth-century-spanning odyssey that contains some of the finest writing of Martel’s career.” —Mark Medley, The Globe and Mail “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.” —The Gazette“Martel’s storytelling is fabulous, both literally—he blurs real worlds and dream worlds, human lives and lives of other animals—and figuratively. He lights up the page.” —Barbara J. King, NPR “The High Mountains of Portugal is a deftly crafted and rewarding read. . . . The doctor in part two speaks of ‘writers who play the language like a mandolin for our entertainment.’ Martel plays it so well.” —Ottawa Citizen“Captivated and surprised from the first sentence, I could not put this new novel from Yann Martel aside. Billed as a story of great love and great loss, it is all that and more. The High Mountains of Portugal is clever and poetic, laugh-out-loud funny and alive with images and ideas. Rush out and buy this book.” —Ottawa Magazine “Lucid and thought provoking.” —Mail on Sunday“Martel constructs a complicated story that is fascinating, frustrating and, in the end, a brilliant achievement. . . . The High Mountains of Portugal is as deeply sad as it is dryly funny, exploring love and faith in unexpected and memorable ways.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch “Yann Martel is like a skilled dancer. He leads readers with a strong hand, gliding them through the landscape of his imagination, page by page. . . . The High Mountains of Portugal is another tour de force, exemplifying the power of fiction, allegory and bold creativity. . . . [Martel’s characters] will live in the reader’s mind long after the book itself begins collecting dust. . . . [A] wonderful dance.” —Anne Watson, National Observer “[A] strange and wonderful novel—and [its] pieces come together in a masterful ending, the kind that sends you back to the start to begin all over again. Martel most definitely has his quirks. There are some odd turns of phrase in The High Mountains. . . . But the exuberant wordplay enhances the equally vivid storytelling. I took away indelible images from High Mountains, enchanting and disturbing at the same time. . . . As whimsical as Martel’s magic realism can be, grief informs every step of the book’s three journeys. In the course of the novel we burrow ever further into the heart of an ape, pure and threatening at once, our precursor, ourselves.” —Jean Zimmerman, NPR  “[E]ntirely fresh. . . . Martel’s writing has never been more charming, a rich mixture of sweetness that’s not cloying and tragedy that’s not melodramatic. . . . The High Mountains of Portugal attains an altitude from which we can see something quietly miraculous.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post“[E]xquisite and beguiling. . . . The structure of the book embodies its gentle whimsy. . . . Martel explores the nature of grief in a manner that is delicate, subtle and unexpected. This is a rich vein in his writing; it is explored wonderfully in stories such as The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios. Martel’s work is a bit like the ocean on a nice day. The surface of his prose presents a calm and glistening exterior, allowing gentle waves to tickle your toes and often make you laugh. But there is a lot going on beneath the surface. The High Mountains of Portugal is a delightful and enlivening experience. Its very strangeness makes the world feel more comfortable.” —The Sydney Morning Herald