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Publisher's Summary

The author of the best-selling Life of Pi returns to the storytelling power and luminous wisdom of his master novel.

In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artifact that - if he can find it - would redefine history. Traveling in one of Europe's earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure.

Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the center of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás' quest.

Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in Northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.

Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, The High Mountains of Portugal - part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable - offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss, asking questions about faith and lack of faith that are at the heart of all of Yann Martel's novels.

©2015 Yann Martel (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Mark Bramhall delivers a confident performance of Yann Martel's exploration of faith and personal tragedy.... Bramhall is achingly convincing as the grief-stricken Tomás." (AudioFile)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Surreal Onion

This book earns 5 stars because, like the proverbial onion, it has layers and layers to ponder for months to come. It's a surreal journey, over generations, that make you think about faith, loss, "progress" and extinction. I particularly enjoyed the funny little connections from past to future, the best example being walking backwards. It's not a spoiler, but the practice of walking backwards is just one of the many fairy tale like elements in this book that make you consider that even when you want to resist moving forward, it's inevitable.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 10-31-16

Rich & Lyrical - with way Too Much Religion.

This book is beautifully written. The style is complex, nuanced, musical. It is lovely to listen to. I was enchanted by Tómas and all of Part 1. But then I came to Part II and the religious lecture that went on and on and on. My ability to follow the mystery of the story, and get to know these new characters was completely lost. I found my mind drifting away from the story and onto real life. I rewound and tried again -- three times! Then I hit fast forward hoping to find story again that would captivate and charm me. It never happened. I was halfway into a book and no longer interested.

Here is the odd thing. Some of my favorite books are written by John Irving who uses religion throughout. His characters are sometimes zealots, sometimes heathens and always affected by the themes of Christianity. What is the difference? For me, Irving always feels like he uses religion to build character development. He is sometime reverent but usually irreverent. This book felt more like a sermon and left me feeling as though the author had an agenda.

So how do I rate it? Two stars -- if I were rating Part 1 I would give it 4, but I could only give Part 2 1 and that would be generous. I came down to an average of 2.

Now, as to Mark Bramhall's performance? It was outstanding! I loved his interpretation of the words. I loved the sweet and silly performance of Tómas the backwards walking, grieving, lovable oddball in Part 1. Absolutely perfect.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Did not disappoint.

I have been haunted for years by the Life of Pi. This book had more of that weird, charming and sometimes unsettlingly dreaminess that I loved. Wonderful characters and although the pacing was somewhat uneven it did not lose my interest at any point.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

This was the best reader I've encountered and will look forward to hearing him again. The story was interesting and well developed. Unfortunately, I did not like the ending. Admittedly, I think I just wanted to hear more and perhaps a clearer explanation of the key elements. Martel, however, does not disappoint. It was nevertheless an intriguing and skilled piece of artistry that summoned forth detailed visuals from my imagination.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not for me

Any additional comments?

I was enjoying this book until a religious rant began in part two. I endured, assuming it would return to the main story but it didn't. I finally skipped forward, chapter after chapter, eventually giving up because it seemed it would never end. I began to assume the author had an agenda related to religion and Jesus and it really turned me off of this book. I will be returning it.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • Freeland, WA, United States
  • 02-26-16

Absolutely fascinating!

This is one of the most intriguing, humorous, thoroughly enjoyable book I've listened to in a long time - beautifully expressed, hilarious and sad at the same time. The imagery and discussions powerful! It's a book I'll have to listen to again and again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Unbelievable!!

I am wondering if I am too dumb to understand this book!! Such ridiculous happenings!! I kept reading it to the end just to see what else would happen to bring the story together!😩😩😩😩😩

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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An atmospheric and symbol-rich puzzle

This novel was easy to listen to from start to finish. I enjoyed it. I'm still trying to work through all of the major pieces of the novel, and by that I mean the symbols in the various surreal, mundane and supernatural scenes. I'm wondering if all the pieces will actually add up, although I'm not sure how disappointed I would be if they didn't. The writing was lush, simple, beautiful and enjoyable.

I now know what it would be like to live with a chimp.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Simply beautiful

I love this lyrical, complex interweaving of stories and eras and details and minutiae. A brilliant and captivating novel.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Interesting, just not that enjoyable

I am a huge Life of Pi fan, so I really wanted to love this one too. And there were small moments where I definitely was loving it. Unfortunately those moments of humour or insight or brilliance were very overshadowed by unedited descriptions that felt they were going nowhere. This book felt like one of those romantic relationships that you stay in way too long remembering the good times.