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Night Train to Lisbon

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3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  11,645 Ratings  ·  1,281 Reviews
A huge international best seller, this ambitious novel plumbs the depths of our shared humanity to offer up a breathtaking insight into life, love, and literature itself. A major hit in Germany that went on to become one of Europe’s biggest literary blockbusters in the last five years, Night Train to Lisbon is an astonishing novel, a compelling exploration of consciousness ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published December 21st 2007 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Susanna-Cole King
Jan 29, 2010 Susanna-Cole King rated it it was amazing
When, on a whim, I threw everything away to wander thousands of miles from anything I've ever known, I first went to Lisbon because of this book. That was last September, and by November I had traipsed through neighboring Spain and south into Africa, though, I've since been back to the city of Lisbon, and furthermore to this book.

If you are not, at least in some part, a thinker, if philosophy ebbs away at your patience, if the sight of pages mostly barren of dialogue make you panic, this book w
...more
Christopher
Mar 29, 2008 Christopher rated it did not like it
Apparently, Page des Libraires calls this 'One of the great European novels of the past few years'- compared to what? The SNCF Railway Timetable.

This book makes me incredibly angry. And after some thought I can honestly award it the 'worst book I have ever read' award. I could forgive it for being slow. I could forgive the missed opportunities of drawing what potentially could have been interesting characters in two dimensions. I could even forgive the shockingly bad translation (it has not even
...more
Tim
Nov 19, 2009 Tim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
I LOVED this book. I've been running around quoting "Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us - what happens to the rest?"

Part of me wants to say that that line, and the subject of this book, the exploration of alternate lives than the one you've chosen, resonated with me because I'm at that age when one recognizes how much will go undone, how many experiences will never be felt, how many lives could still be lived, given world enough and time.

But actually, I've had this
...more
Manny
Oct 15, 2013 Manny marked it as to-read
When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty.
Normally, I would just leave it at that. It's a nice quote I hadn't heard before. But, in the current climate, I am concerned that I will have my account closed down by the GR censors if I don't explain myself more fully, so I guess I'd better do so.

I have not read the book, but we saw the movie at a local cinema, using the free gift card that I received as an unexpected bonus with my new contact lenses. Not thought it was great, but I was less
...more
Whitaker
I’ve gone a bit off writing reviews lately. On the other hand, this book made me want to write something to put my thoughts on it into some shape.

Incoherent Thought Number One

The protagonist, a teacher of dead languages in Bern, is inspired by this book he comes across to quit his job and travel to Portugal to find out more about the writer of the book, Prado. Many reviewers who hated this novel have commented how utterly new-ageishly purile the comments in the book are, more like the thoughts
...more
Tricia
Apr 06, 2008 Tricia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in language, or Portuguese political history, or thoughtful mysteries
Recommended to Tricia by: Denise, Ernie
This book took me a long, long time to read, but I am glad I stuck with it. A very philosophical book -- it asks the reader to imagine what would happen if you questioned everything about your life and started a new existence.
The main character in this book does exactly that, using a book written by a Portuguese doctor to as a tool for self-discovery.

If you want to be prompted to think more deeply about life, who you truly are, and about human nature in general, read this book.
Owlseyes
Dec 22, 2011 Owlseyes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joyce
May 22, 2009 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fabulous book. I know I will go back to this one to reread passages.

To me this wasn't about philosophy. This was a book about how we live or don't live, about who we are and the myriad levels of identity we all have and how much we can ever really know or not know someone.

It's about flawed people finding some sort of salvation in their own humanity - or not being able to accept their flawed humanity.

If you're looking for gripping clever plots with tight action, go dig up one of the endles
...more
J
Apr 30, 2009 J rated it liked it
Why would you give me this book to read? Why? You didn’t like it. At the time I was too pleased to have a present to care. You could have put anything in my hands and I’d have been delighted. A pen, a purl, a plum… But this? Pah!
At the time, I thought it might still be a good story though. It looked to be a quiet, interior journey. Our man, Gregorius, has a thing for words. I can relate. But not in the way I relate at the beginning of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Gregorius is no Belle
...more
Bryant
Jun 26, 2008 Bryant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
The hype for this book (over two million copies sold) is inexplicable. Although the central character Gregorius is a classical linguist with a supposedly impregnable gift for recognizing and treasuring beautiful poetry, the entire story here hinges on his suddenly fleeing his life in pursuit of an elusive and patently insipid author named Amadeu Prado. Prado's bathetic meditations fill the pages of this novel: a source of continual inspiration for Gregorius, these sections were a source of almos ...more
Chrissie
This is a book which can be read on different levels! At least for me. I can think about a paragraph and the import of those lines OR I can read it for the story from start to finish. Some lines are priceless. Some lines, I just think: What??!!!

I am nearing the end! What is going to happen?
It ends perfectly.

This book is very philosophical! Definitely not for everyone, and it is kind of wordy, but boy is there a lot to think about.....

Some reviewers remark that it is poorly translated from the Ge
...more
Natali
Nov 17, 2013 Natali rated it it was amazing
A story like this only comes along once every few years and storytelling like this is just as rare. I didn't want this book to end, which is very meta because it is a book about a lover of literature who falls in love with an out-of-print memoir from a kindred spirit. The protagonist, like me, dreads finishing his treasured book.

There is so much nobility, intelligence, and heart in these characters that I am truly sad that I will never really know them in real life. I was almost honored to spen
...more
Michael
Nov 10, 2008 Michael rated it it was ok
The book suffers from significant problems. The English translation from the German is wooden; the book is too long; the editing is bad (e.g., a Greek word from Homer that is significant to the plot is misread [I hope] from the author's or translator's manuscript and mangled in print); and the endgame is botched (to borrow from the omnipresent chess references that weigh the book down almost as much as the endless poor imitations of Pessoa). The premise had promise, and some of the characters we ...more
Corinne
Jul 13, 2015 Corinne rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Coming from a Philosophy professor, I was a bit skeptical to get into the book first, but then I was drawn into the book when the protagonist, Gregorius, also a professor, leaves his stagnant and monotonous life behind on an impulse, and boards a train for Lisbon, to understand the tragic end of a writer.

What is the story ?
The main character, Raimund Gregorius, is a teacher of classics, who has lead a very tedious life, and that one day, out of the blue, decides to leave his job, go to Lisbon a
...more
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter

description

Der Nachtzug nach Lissabon is a philosophical discourse on living life. How one lives one’s life is a question of choice and it is these choices which Pascal Mercier, alias Peter Bieri, sets out before us.

P. Bieri is both a novelist and a philosopher and this fictional work highlights the infinite number of levels of a person’s identity and explores self knowledge and the knowledge of others - in as far as it is possible to really know another person. It is also a love song to words, their beaut
...more
Učitaj se!
May 07, 2015 Učitaj se! rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Čitanje ovog romana je poput trčanja na duge staze: dobar start, ali onda slijedi usporavanje i čuvanje energije za do pred kraj. Knjizi me privukao sinopsis na koricama, u kojem je navedena Gregoriusova potraga za tajanstvenim pjesnikom, koja me pak podsjetila na Zafonovu 'Sjenu vjetra', roman koji me oduševio, ali sličnost s kojim je ovdje ipak bilo možda malo pretjerano za očekivati.

Opis radnje naveden u sinopsisu naveo me da očekujem neku vrstu pustolovine, ali ovaj roman nije zapravo o pust
...more
Elham
Jan 25, 2016 Elham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laila
Oct 04, 2015 Laila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Amadeu Prado...

Okurken hayatına adım adım yaklaştığım, hikayesini Raimund Gregorius ile birlikte öğrenirken meraka kapıldığım karakter. Ozellikle "inanc" uzerine yaptigi Latince konusmayi okurken cok seyi dusundugumu soyleyebilirim. Okuyan herkes Pradonun yazdıklarinda kendinden bir seyler bulacaktir sanirim. "Raimund Gregorius’un hayatında her şeyi değiştirecek olan gün, öteki pek çok gün gibi başladı..." Hepimizin hayatında oldugu gibi. :)

Bir çok yere postit ile belirtec koydum. Tadımlık bir
...more
Marc
Feb 11, 2017 Marc rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, portugal
I noticed that this book evokes very different reactions, from admiration to disgust, and oddly enough, this is also one of the themes of the book: how different the perception of people can be, especially about each other; close friends, partners, even very close family can see or feel each other fundamentally wrong.
Pascal Mercier (pseudonym of Swiss philosopher Peter Bieri) has written a philosophical book, but packaged as an exciting story in a concrete setting, in the line of Voltaire's Cand
...more
Roberto
Jan 02, 2013 Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Il professor Gregorius, insegnante svizzero di mezza età molto razionale e prevedibile, parte per Lisbona portando con sé le pagine di un libro, "Un orafo delle parole", di tale Amadeu do Prado, folgorato da una frase del libro “Se è così, se possiamo vivere solo una piccola parte di quanto è in noi, che ne è del resto?”
A Lisbona va in cerca di notizie sulla vita dell’autore e attraverso la vita di Amadeu impara a farsi domande riguardo la propria vita e a cercare le risposte che non aveva mai t
...more
Christie
I loved this book. It is an intellectual exploration of one man's reevaluation of his life through the discovery of a relatively unknown but very popular Portuguese doctor, later become member of the resistance to the Salizar government. His impetuous travel from his home in Bern to Lisbon, unravel the mystery of what the doctor was all about through his writings, his friends and family, as it builds for the main character an understanding of his own existence and the nature of human relationshi ...more
Hilary
Jan 22, 2011 Hilary rated it did not like it
Inexplicably bad. Translator's fault, in part? Who knows. I wanted to like - nay, love - this, because an old man at a bar recommended it to me as a book that had changed his life. Instead, I found myself desperate to be done with it. The main character, Gregorius, an uptight teacher of classical languages at a Swiss school, inexplicably quits his job and drops everything after a chance encounter with a mysterious Portuguese woman. Portuguese, you see, is the one language he doesn't know, and he ...more
Thea
Jul 16, 2015 Thea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Това ще е само една твърде емоционална и нахално лична, а най-вероятно и престъпно дълга записка, която да ми напомни след няколко месеца да се събера в себе си и да напиша цялостен текст за тази книга. Какъвто тя заслужава.

Дочетох я болна от ангина, с идиотски висока температура, толкова отпаднала, че да не мога да се изправя от леглото с дни, безумно ядосана на тялото си, че ме предава така. Особено състояние, при което е още по-лесно да се слееш с нечие слово.

Започването на романа обаче беш
...more
yexxo
Dieses Buch ist mal wieder ein gelungenes Beispiel für einen völlig mißlungenen Klappen- und Umschlagtext und was daraus wird: Mehr als die Hälfte der Bewertungen bei amazon sind gut bis sehr gut, ca. ein Drittel schlecht bis sehr schlecht und lediglich 10% finden es 'so ok'. Kein Wunder: Wer sich ein Buch kauft aufgrund der vollmundigen Ankündigung als Krimi ('Bewußtseinskrimi!'), in dem der Protagonist Raimund Gregorius um sein Leben fürchten muss, wird schwer enttäuscht sein von dieser Lektür ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 01, 2010 Gerald Sinstadt rated it did not like it
Even those reviewers who could empathise with boring Gregorius, the novel's 'hero,' have had to concede that a lumpen translation and countless errors that passed the spellchecker (but wouldn't have escaped a mildly conscientious proof reader) make this a challenging read.

One has to take the publishers' word for it that two million copies have been sold world-wide. It would have been more honest - but probably dangerous - to reveal how many actually read it to the end. Since I reached page 125
...more
Hannah
Sep 12, 2008 Hannah rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I wanted to be enthralled with its philosophical bent and writing style, allowing me to take my place with the cultured Europeans. But I didn't particularly enjoy it; I have to admit I'm solidly with American opinion on this one. It was well written, took a unique approach to creating a biography of a writer, and offered up a healthy dose of philosophy which I did find refreshing. It did not, however, grip me at all. I found myself wishing I had somethin ...more
Bojan Dzodan
Sep 28, 2016 Bojan Dzodan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tople preporuke!
Ebtihal Abuali
Jun 17, 2017 Ebtihal Abuali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
قطار الليل إلى لشبونة
للكاتب باسكال ميرسييه

لوصف الرواية سأستعين بافتتاحية أورهان باموك لروايته (الحياة الجديدة) حيث تبدأ تلك الرواية بهذه العبارة: (قرأت ذات يوم كتابا، فتغيرت حياتي كلها).

ان هذه هي ثيمة رواية قطار الليل إلى لشبونة، فقد قرأ غريغورز كتابا غير حياته. ان ما أثار انتباهي في البداية هو التشابه بين الروايتين في جانب اللجوء إلى رحلة فعلية، حين يكون الانسان متجها إلى نفسه. في الحياة الجديدة يركب الراوي الحافلات تلو الاخرى بحثا عن الحياة الجديدة، ذاهبا الى ذلك المكان الذي يمكنه انه يجدها في
...more
Stefanie
Apr 09, 2011 Stefanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raimund Gregorius hat getan, was wir uns alle in der ein oder anderen Situation mal wünschen. Er ist einfach gegangen, mitten im Unterricht, hat sein altes Leben hinter sich gelassen und ist nach Lissabon gereist. Dort wandelt er auf den Spuren eines geheimnisvollen Autors, der mit seinem Leben viele Menschen berührt hat. Gregorius findet immer mehr über diesen mysteriösen Prado heraus und findet mit jedem Schritt auch mehr zu sich selbst.

"Nachtzug nach Lissabon" ist ein ruhiges, philosophisches
...more
Reinhold
Dec 11, 2008 Reinhold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raimund Gregorius ist Lehrer an einem Berner Gymnasium. In seinem Leben hat er es vor allem zu einem gebracht, zu dem Ruf die toten Sprachen zu beherrschen wie kein anderer - dies hat ihm den liebevollen Beinamen "Mundus" eingetragen. Sonst ist sein Leben bisher sehr unspektakulär verlaufen, spießig könnte man sagen. Und da - plötzlich wie aus heiterem Himmel - wird er durch scheinbare Nichtigkeiten vollkommen aus der Bahn geworfen. Ein Entwicklungsroman der Sonderklasse beginnt.

Sprachlich ragt
...more
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Movie 5 58 Jun 12, 2016 12:32PM  
A rarity: movie that's better than the book! 1 16 Apr 16, 2016 10:17AM  
So great, 6 77 Apr 26, 2014 01:47PM  
Goodreads Librari...: merge book? 3 38 Apr 10, 2012 02:02PM  
  • Schweigeminute
  • Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit
  • Am Hang
  • Die Stimmen des Flusses
  • Das Wüten der ganzen Welt
  • The Swimmer
  • De grote wereld
  • The Dark Side of Love
  • The Blindness of the Heart
  • The Collector of Worlds
  • How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone
  • Visitation
  • Het lot van de familie Meijer
  • Der Trafikant
  • Job
  • Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit
  • Die Frau meines Lebens
  • Das Muschelessen
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Pascal Mercier is the pseudonym of Peter Bieri, a Swiss writer and philosopher.
Bieri studied philosophy, English studies and Indian studies in both London and Heidelberg.
More about Pascal Mercier...

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“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” 799 likes
“A feeling is no longer the same when it comes the second time. It dies through the awareness of its return. We become tired and weary of our feelings when they come too often and last too long.” 227 likes
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