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The High Mountains of Portugal: A Novel by [Martel, Yann]
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The High Mountains of Portugal: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 349 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

“Pack your bags: Fifteen years after The Life of Pi, Yann Martel is taking us on another long journey. Fans of his Man Booker Prize–winning novel will recognize familiar themes from that seafaring phenomenon, but the itinerary in this imaginative new book is entirely 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

“Just as ambitious, just as clever, just as existential and spiritual [as Life of Pi] . . . a book that rewards your attention . . . an excellent book club choice.”San Francisco Chronicle
 
“There’s no denying the simple pleasures to be had in The High Mountains of Portugal.”Chicago Tribune
 
“Charming . . . Most Martellian is the boundless capacity for parable. . . . Martel knows his strengths: passages about the chimpanzee and his owner brim irresistibly with affection and attentiveness.”The New Yorker
 
“A rich and rewarding experience . . . [Martel] spins his magic thread of hope and despair, comedy and pathos.”USA Today

“I took away indelible images from High Mountains, enchanting and disturbing at the same time: the motorcar hitting obstacle after obstacle as it gradually, comically falls to pieces (as does its driver), or the ape as he swings his way across the rooftops of a Portuguese village. 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. You must change your life.”—NPR
 
“Refreshing, surprising and filled with sparkling moments of humor and insight.”The Dallas Morning News

“We’re fortunate to have brilliant writers using their fiction to meditate on a paradox we need urgently to consider—the unbridgeable gap and the unbreakable bond between human and animal, our impossible self-alienation from our world. . . . [Martel’s] semi-surreal, semi-absurdist mode is well suited to exploring the paradox. The moral and spiritual implications of his tale have, in the end, a quality of haunting tenderness.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian
 
“Martel continues his quirky romance with ideas, using three interlocking novellas to chew over religious revelation, human mortality, and interspecies communication, among other notions. . . . [He] maintains his fascination with the porous borders between homo sapiens and other species. . . . [Martel packs] his inventive novel with beguiling ideas. What connects an inept curator to a haunted pathologist to a smitten politician across more than seventy-five years is the author’s ability to conjure up something uncanny at the end.”The Boston Globe
 
“A fine home, and story, in which to find oneself.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“Written with nuanced beauty; not for nothing has Martel established himself as our premier writer of animal-based fiction.”Toronto Star
 
“Gleefully bizarre, genuinely thrilling and entirely heartbreaking . . . While The High Mountains of Portugal is an exuberantly narrative novel, it is even more so a contemplative, philosophical one. . . . The book’s prose [reminds] us of how subtle and elegant a craftsman Martel is. . . . High Mountains resists the reader at every turn in the most pleasing way possible: it does not seek to offer you absolute truth, though it contains much wisdom; instead, it seeks to evade you, and in doing so deepens your sense of its mysteries, and the mysteries of the world we share with it.”The Globe and Mail

“Filled with humor, sadness, love and adventure, it’s a perfect balance for those who want a feel-good book that still provides an insight into the human psyche.”BookPage
 
“Whimsical magical realism . . . Fans of modern fables will feel right at home untangling the messages hidden within the narrative.”Paste

“Highly imaginative . . . Martel’s narrative wizardry connects three novellas set seven decades apart in the eponymous region of Portugal. . . . Martel is in a class by himself in acknowledging the tragic vicissitudes of life while celebrating wildly ridiculous contretemps that bring levity to the mystery of existence.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“A remarkable novel.”Maclean’s
 
“The prose is sharp, comical, and carries a deeply poignant message: though religion may be one person’s belief structure and another’s laughing stock, it is important to humanity.”The List
 
“His depiction of loss is raw and deeply affecting—but it’s the way in which he contextualises it within formal religion that gives this book an extra dimension. Martel’s writing is enriched and amplified by the abundance and intricacy of his symbology (touching on Job, St. Peter, Doubting Thomas and the parables of Jesus) and his probing of religion’s consolations. Martel is not in the business of providing us with answers, but through its odd, fabulous, deliberately oblique stories, his new novel does ask some big questions.”The Telegraph (four stars)
 
“[An] extravagant smorgasbord of a novel . . . If fans of [Life of Pi] have been feeling deprived, they will be happy to know [that The High Mountains of Portugal] deals in many of the same fundamental questions of life, love, family and faith. . . . At every turn Martel’s deft observations and quiet compassion for human suffering shine through.”The Saturday Paper


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Description

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2055 KB
  • Print Length: 349 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345809432
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada (Feb. 2 2016)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B014BQZ7YW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #747 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took me awhile to acclimatize to this book but it eventually claimed my interest. Written in 3 connected parts, it is an examination of sorrow and how it can sideswipe us out of our day-to-day lives but won't let us off the daily hook completely. I was particularly engaged by the third story of a former Canadian senator and his relationship with a chimpanzee named Odo. Each of the three stories has elements that are off-kilter (it IS Yann Martel after all) but each is compelling in its own way. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a magical, fantastical, totally fall-in-loveable story of a man, a chimp, an extinct rhino (we think) a pathologist, a church, a crucifix, a boy, a vintage car, an old woman, a suitcase, Agatha Christie's books, love, wonder and death. And more, yes more. And it clips along and the writing is beautiful and it's told in three parts and that's okay, and it will make you laugh, cry, walk backwards, be horrified, be slightly disturbed (after all what does a pathologist do), understand love more, life more, death more and much more.

Yann Martel's imagination knows no bounds. I am convinced of this now. It will make you think and ponder. It will make you want to re-read Christie, visit an animal sanctuary, look at church carvings more carefully, take a trip, drive a stick shift and appreciate all the oddballs in life we come across in our ordinary days.

This is a truly stellar work of imagination, full of unbelievable events that need no explanation or interpretation. It all comes together in the end and the end is brilliant. Take the journey to the high mountains of Portugal, it is well worth it. Bring some Port along the way, and don't forget Odo's bananas.
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Format: Hardcover
This new collection of short stories by Yann Martel is one that will leave you thinking and digesting long after reading. While it is hard not to compare The High Mountains of Portugal to Martel’s Man Booker Prize winning novel, Life of Pi, this book of stories is just as engaging and enlightening in its own way. The writing is breathtaking and really digs deep into many themes, including grief, while transporting the reader to the incredible backdrop of the high mountains of Portugal.

Short stories can sometimes leave the reader with a sense of wanting more. When the stories are written in a serial manner, however, there is some satisfaction for the reader that at some point all will be revealed. In the first story in The High Mountains of Portugal, we are met with a quirky man named Tomás who is grieving the loss of multiple family members. This story is one that appeared to be the most developed in the collection and reveals so much about the main character. This story seemed to end to quickly and if not for the following stories that found their way back to this first one, the reader would really be left hanging.

Each of these stories examines the themes of love and grief in their own unique manner. There is a quest for one of the characters, a revelation for another and an incredible journey with a primate for the last. Although each of these tales are different, there is an element that ties them to one another that is discovered along each of these journeys. The raw emotions and the mourning that each of Martel’s characters endure is woven into a rich and beautiful tapestry that is very thought provoking and profound.

As well, all of the stories eventually take the reader and the characters to the high mountains of Portugal at some point.
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Format: Kindle Edition
the story telling is magic...it steps into the real and the unreal as if it's all the same... easy to go back and read it again....once is not enough!!
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