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Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Pascal Mercier




If you are looking for a captivating and thought-provoking novel that will take you on a journey across Europe and through time, you should definitely read Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. This bestselling book tells the story of a Swiss professor who abandons his boring life and embarks on a quest to discover the secrets of a mysterious Portuguese author. Along the way, he encounters fascinating characters, explores intriguing ideas, and confronts his own past and identity.




night train to lisbon epub free download



In this article, you will learn more about Night Train to Lisbon, its plot, themes, style, and reception. You will also find out how you can download the epub version of this book for free online. Epub is a popular and convenient format that allows you to read ebooks on various devices and platforms. So, if you are ready to join the night train to Lisbon, keep reading!


The Plot of Night Train to Lisbon




Night Train to Lisbon follows the adventures of Raimund Gregorius, a middle-aged teacher of classical languages who lives in Bern, Switzerland. One day, he saves a young woman from jumping off a bridge. She gives him a book by Amadeu de Prado, a Portuguese doctor and writer who lived during the dictatorship of Salazar. Gregorius becomes fascinated by the book, which contains philosophical reflections on life, death, love, courage, and freedom. He decides to leave his job and his wife and take a night train to Lisbon, where he hopes to find out more about de Prado.


In Lisbon, Gregorius tracks down the people who knew de Prado personally or professionally. He learns that de Prado was a brilliant but conflicted man who was involved in the resistance against Salazar's regime. He also had a complicated relationship with his family, his friends, and his lovers. Gregorius gradually uncovers the secrets and mysteries of de Prado's life and death, while also reexamining his own choices and values.


The Themes of Night Train to Lisbon




Night Train to Lisbon is a novel that explores many themes and questions that are relevant to anyone who wants to understand themselves and the world better. Some of the main themes are:


  • Identity: The novel asks what makes us who we are and how we can change or reinvent ourselves. Gregorius is dissatisfied with his routine and predictable life and seeks a new identity in Lisbon. De Prado is torn between his different roles and identities as a doctor, a writer, a rebel, a son, a brother, a friend, and a lover.



  • Memory: The novel explores how memory shapes our perception of reality and how it can be distorted, forgotten, or recovered. Gregorius relies on the memories of de Prado's acquaintances to reconstruct his biography. De Prado writes his book as a way of preserving his memories and transmitting them to future generations.



  • History: The novel depicts the historical and political context of Portugal in the 20th century, especially the period of the Estado Novo, the authoritarian regime that ruled the country from 1933 to 1974. The novel shows how history affects the lives of individuals and how individuals can influence history.



  • Philosophy: The novel is full of philosophical reflections and quotations that challenge the reader to think critically and creatively about various topics, such as the meaning of life, the nature of death, the value of love, the role of courage, and the essence of freedom.



  • Love: The novel portrays different forms and expressions of love, such as romantic love, platonic love, familial love, and self-love. The novel also examines the joys and pains of love, such as passion, loyalty, betrayal, jealousy, sacrifice, and forgiveness.



The Style of Night Train to Lisbon




The author of Night Train to Lisbon, Pascal Mercier, is the pen name of Peter Bieri, a Swiss philosopher and professor. His academic background is evident in his writing style, which is rich in references, quotations, and metaphors. Some of the features of his style are:


  • Multiple perspectives: The novel alternates between the third-person narration of Gregorius's present journey and the first-person narration of de Prado's past writings. This creates a contrast and a dialogue between the two main characters and their views.



  • Flashbacks: The novel uses flashbacks to reveal the events and experiences that shaped de Prado's life and personality. These flashbacks are triggered by Gregorius's interviews with de Prado's relatives and friends or by his own associations and memories.



  • Quotations: The novel includes many quotations from various sources, such as literature, philosophy, religion, poetry, and music. These quotations enrich the text with different voices and perspectives and invite the reader to reflect on their meaning and relevance.



  • Metaphors: The novel employs many metaphors to illustrate abstract or complex concepts or emotions. For example, the night train to Lisbon is a metaphor for Gregorius's escape from his old life and his journey to a new one. The bridge where he meets the woman who gives him de Prado's book is a metaphor for the crossing between two worlds or states of being.



The Reception of Night Train to Lisbon




Night Train to Lisbon was first published in German in 2004 under the title Nachtzug nach Lissabon. It was translated into English in 2007 by Barbara Harshav. It has sold more than four million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 30 languages. It has also received several awards and nominations, such as the Swiss Book Prize (2006), the Prix des Lecteurs du Livre de Poche (2008), and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2009).


The book has been praised by critics and readers alike for its captivating plot, its profound themes, its elegant style, and its atmospheric setting. Some of the positive reviews are:


"A treat for the mind. One of the best books I have read in a long time." - Isabel Allende


"A meditative novel that builds uncanny power...a very impressive work of literature." - The Guardian


"A rare and special book that touches the soul." - The Times


"A thrilling journey into the soul of Europe, a meditation on its past and present." - The New York Times


The book has also been adapted into a movie in 2013, directed by Bille August and starring Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Martina Gedeck, and Bruno Ganz. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, but was praised for its cinematography, music, and acting.


The Benefits of Reading Night Train to Lisbon