From the author of the international publishing sensation Life of Pi comes the story of a quest for a lost relic.
The journey takes us from Africa in the 1600s through Portugal at the turn of the last century to contemporary North America.
Showcasing Martel's trademark delight in the fundamental stories that unite us, The High Mountains of Portugal unfolds with a dazzling lightness of touch. With its intricately woven layers of meaning and all the pleasures and surprises of a good yarn, it is also a beautiful, tender, clear-eyed and heartfelt exploration of love, suffering, faith and evolution.
By turns funny, tragic and sublime, The High Mountains of Portugal reminds us that it is our ability to weave remarkable stories out of our spiritual and philosophical concerns that makes us - and keeps us - human.
©2015 Yann Martel (P)2016 Canongate Books
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"Realism can break a writer's heart."
Magical realism is hard to achieve because it requires a bit of magic otherwise it moves into the arena of surrealism and the absurd this book has a bit of both and I would say too much of the absurd.
More than a novel this are three novelas joined by images or parables, shared as glue that is not sticky enough to truly unite them.
The first story starts in 1908 and looks back thru a memoir to the 17th century when Portugal was and empire and its priest were converting the ones they enslaved. Its absurdity is hard to take but still has a strange charm.
The second story is a strange religious parable with more information on autopsies than most would ever want to know and has an absurdity and magic that are full of sadness.
The third story has more accomplished magical realism and should have been the only story that made it in a longer format. It is full of mystery and tension, while exploring some very interesting ideas about nature and mankind it also describes the charms of rural Portugal with true sensitivity making you believe in the impossible and a gives some unexpected delights.
Overall I did enjoy the book but it was a bit disjointed and unfocused on its message, but it still had enough interesting ideas and good stories to make it interesting.
"Well worth the long wait"
I would recommend this book to a friend as it is a clever and complex story that looks at several themes including faith and loss.
The second story stood out for me, I found it very moving without being sentimental.
It was very well read with a good pace and clever and subtle characterisation.
The book made me smile rather than laugh in parts. There was an undercurrent of melancholy throughout which was never overplayed.
Whilst not always receiving great reviews I thought this was a very worthy follow up to Pi. Martel is essentially a storywriter and a quite brilliant one at his best. The book is basically three short stories with a tenuous link, but three excellent stories in their own right.
"Not my kind of thing"
Whilst eloquently descriptive and a clever concept, I found it boring. Hours 'wasted' on multiple descriptions of driving a car..... As the story developed it became a little too far fetched. Last part of the story was the most interesting but I think on balance I wished I'd not persevered to the end.
This richly written story wanders through time, on the edge of normality, rooted in the essence of being human. A bit of a mystery, the ends tie up leaving you wanting more.
"artintheory loved this ..."
The narrator was perfect for this story. There were moments of difficulty but overall A1.
"Beautifully written - a very wierd book!"
Really don't know how to rate this book. As a writer Yann really knows how to beautifully write on a subject. It's an extremely interesting book.... but bizarre at the same time!
Three separate stories, which are linked, but I'm left not being sure how, exactly, they are linked! I'm sure there's probably a hidden message in there somewhere, which I don't think I've managed to grasp. Did a "google" but haven't come across what I'm sure will eventually be "blindingly obvious".
So, really, really enjoyed the journey through the book, the richness of it, which is great compared to some of the books which are just hard to keep reading. So, do I recommend, it has to be a yes... and if you read it and understand it... let me know!!
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