High Mountains of Portugal The

High Mountains of Portugal The 1

by Yann MartelMartel Yann and Yann; Yann;Martel Martel

Publication Date: 02/02/2016

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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, mesmerising story of a great quest for meaning, told in three intersecting narratives that touch 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 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.
Contemporary fiction
Publication Date:
The Text Publishing Company
Yann Martel

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963. After studying philosophy at university, he worked at odd jobs and travelled before turning to writing.

He is the author of the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, which was translated into thirty-eight languages.

Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada

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5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • An utterly enchanting read.

    by on

    “In the course of one week – Gaspar died on Monday, Dora on Thursday, his father on Sunday – his heart became undone like a bursting cocoon. Emerging from it came no butterfly but a grey moth that settled on the wall of his soul and stirred no farther”

    The High Mountains of Portugal is the fourth novel by award-winning Spanish-born Canadian author, Yann Martel. In late 1904, Tomas Lobo, an assistant curator at Lisbon’s Museum of Ancient Art, sets off to the High Mountains of Portugal in search of a seventeenth century artifact that he believes to be profoundly important.

    At the start of 1939, Eusebio Lozora, a Braganca hospital pathologist, is asked to perform an autopsy under strange circumstances. In the late 1980s, Canadian Senator Peter Tovy finds himself travelling with a chimpanzee from Oklahoma to a small village in the High Mountains of Portugal.

    Here are three seemingly unrelated stories which inevitably intersect: three male narrators, each mourning their awful loss. But their grief does not overwhelm their stories. Martel fills his novel with unusual, different, interesting, and often amusing, elements: a brand new 4 cylinder Renault in the hands of a novice; a welcome ghost; a diary written by a missionary to slaves; the fabled Iberian rhinoceros; a very different take on the novels of Agatha Christie; a car journey across a country with a wilful chimpanzee; and a very unusual autopsy.

    Martel gives the reader some wonderful descriptive prose; there is plenty of humour, some of it dark, some of it laugh-out-loud, almost slapstick; his characters are appealing, often quirky, multi-faceted, passionate and occasionally quite naive; there are interesting plots and curious sub-plots; there is profound love, deep passion and devastating loss; all of this would make rereading this novel (perhaps even several times) an unalloyed pleasure, but this one with the added bonus of uncovering even more of the numerous common elements linking each of these three loosely intersecting tales.

    Martel touches on slavery, on religion, faith and saints, the ethics of primate research, how people cope with loss, the origins of man and on learning how to be in the moment, to live in the present. There are many words of wisdom and perceptive observations. He wraps it all up in brilliant prose and presents it within a wonderfully evocative cover (designed by Simone Andjelkovic).