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Follow the Author
Night Train to Lisbon MP3 CD – Unabridged, July 21, 2015
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About the Author
- Publisher : Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (July 21, 2015)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1501264524
- ISBN-13 : 978-1501264528
- Item Weight : 3.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 5.5 x 0.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,232,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The premise of the plot seemed improbable. An older teacher of ancient languages in Bern Switzerland walks out of his classroom in the middle of class in pursuit of a young Portuguese women he had just prevented from killing herself. He buys a book she was carrying written by a doctor in Lisbon. It is an introspective, self examining, philosophical soul searching journal. His object of pursuit shifts from the young woman to the author of the book. He packs his bag and takes a night train to Lisbon.
But the story pulled me in. The narrator learns immediately on arrival in Lisbon that the author he seeks is 30 years dead. The book is about the narrator's search to learn about what kind of man the author was that could have such a powerful impact on him to cause him to walk away from his life in pursuit of a stranger.
The book contains long passages from the book and other writings by the doctor that he comes across. The narrator meets most of people the doctor writes about.
With an intellectual teacher in pursuit of understanding a sensitive, gifted author the book is inevitably often about philosophy and self examination, stated or implied. That might turn off a number of readers but I pressed on. The movie leaves all the philosophy out and focuses on character's interaction in flashbacks of the past.
Toward the end, the philosophizing seemed to become too much and the intellectual elements sort of fell apart for me.
The ending of the book and the movie are polar opposites. If you want a story which contains a lot of inner self-examination and philosophizing, read the book. If you want the same story told as a straightforward romantic tale of love, struggle against evil, friendship, family, betrayal and loss see the movie. If you enjoy comparing and contrasting how the same story is told in the two media forms as I do, you will enjoy both.
Many Americans did not like this book, they thought it was slow and too philosophical. It is an overwhelmingly philosophical book but despite being a bit slow I found the prose of this book intoxicatingly beautiful. Amadeu Prado, the main character is a man tormented and torn between his own yearnings and desires and the very high expectations his family (especially his father) placed on him. Gregorius found his book in an old Spanish bookshop in Bern, Switzerland where he works as a teacher of Ancient languages. He leaves in the middle of the lesson and without much planning is bound on a trip to Portugal that will lead him to discover almost everything about the life of Prado. In a way is a journey of self discovery as he learns more about the troubled life of Prado and what lead to his untimely death. Prado studied Medicine because his father wanted him to become a respected and prestigious Doctor but his true desire was to Study Literature and Philosophy. He questioned how different his life would have been had he follow his heart instead of doing what was expected of him. Growing up and living in the Portugal of the dictator Salazar he also questioned the existence of God and resented his father for working as a judge for the regime. I found this book fascinating because like Prado and many people around the world I have questioned myself about certains choices I've made throughout my life. It is a wonderful book but it is not meant for people who like light or what I call "fluffy" reading. This book is for enquiring minds and for people who appreciate the unfolding of a good story, albeit a slow one.
Top reviews from other countries
The central character, Raimund Gregorius, is a classics lecturer in Switzerland. He's middle-aged and gentle but also utterly reliable. So, when he just walks out of his class one day his life, and the lives of those who know him, change forever. He sets out on an accidental journey of discovery about the author of a book he has come across. His journey leads him to discoveries about himself and others.
This is a thought-provoking book, there were times when I had to just sit and think before I could read on. There were times when it made laugh and also cry. It is, probably, the most intellectually stimulating book I've read over recent months and will be one that will remain on my bookshelf. I feel sure that I will want to read it again.
As Gregorius discovers more about Prado’s troubled life and the people who mattered most to the doctor, he also analyses his own life, making daring changes in his dress and habits. Moral decisions about saving the life of a tyrant and endangering individuals for the common good are raised in Prado’s book and in his actions. Gregorius makes meaningful relationships with those he meets in Lisbon and cannot decide whether to settle there or return to Switzerland.
This is a long, thought-provoking book with only a little reported action. Gregorius is both empathetic and frustrating. The other characters, and how they were moulded by experience, are fascinating and I enjoyed reading about places in Portugal and Spain which are familiar. The history of Portugal, stagnating under the police state of Salazar’s dictatorship has always interested me so I welcomed this window into the lives of people who lived through it.
The novel starts off well - a fussy, ageing teacher of the Classics in a Swiss school (he should really be a prof in a top university, in his and in the opinion of the author), walks out of his classroom having seemingly prevented a young Portuguese woman from killing herself (who among teachers and lecturers has not at some time felt like walking out, never to return?). He finds a book in the pocket of her coat and sets of for Lisbon to find-out more about the author, who played a minor part in the anti-Salazar resistance. Here authorial-intrusion takes over - if you have recently been reading Kant, Schopenhauer, Santayana (no relation to Carlos - different spelling anyway), there is a small chance that you will take to his work. If you have come to it, like this reviewer, from the film, there is a big chance you will hate it. Literature is replete with works that have dealt with profound philosophical questions while at the same time keeping the reader enthralled - think of some of Thomas Mann's works; Hugo does it by concealing the moral and other dilemmas in the actions and words of believable characters, while telling a story. In the later 20th century, no one has done it better (in English) than Anthony Burgess. Ultimately this is a disappointing novel. Not only that, on a 'quality control' issue: the Kindle edition is replete with typos and/or a translation that is clumsy in the extreme. Recommendation: since not enough is told about the Salazar dictatorship (in the Uk), the film is a good introduction to the brutality in which our government was complicit.
Having struggled against the barred gates of traditional publishing for a few years I am almost shocked that this beautiful book ever saw the light of day.
It moves very slowly.
Can i t be that European readers have become more discerning that Anglo-Saxon ones?
That they have a longer attention span?
That they will persevere with the charm alone?
I warn you if you like a fast pace you wont like it.
But if you like great characters and beautiful writing, you will.
There is no way this would have made it past the gatekeepers in UK or US to see publication