Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier (2008)
Raimund Gregorius teaches classical languages at a Swiss college. After a chance encounter with a mysterious Portuguese woman and the discovery of an extraordinary book by Amadeu de Prado, he begins to question his life. Carrying with him the book by Prado, he takes the night train to Lisbon in the hope that he will begin to comprehend the author’s life. Prado turns out to be 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. Gregorius becomes obsessed by what he reads and his investigations lead him all over the city of Lisbon, as he speaks to those who were a part of Prado’s life. Gradually, the picture of an extraordinary man emerges.
It may take a while to get involved with the story, but once there it is easy to be drawn into the events that unfolded. It is worth the effort as you begin to appreciate the thoughts that are being expressed by both Gregorious and Prado. For those who want a good, intelligent read that’s an excellent analysis of character and poses some fascinating questions about life and love, you won’t go wrong with Night Train to Lisbon.
Read the reviews at Amazon.com.