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A New York Times Bestseller
An Australian Indie Bestseller
With this highly anticipated new novel, the author of the bestselling Life of Pi returns to the storytelling power and luminous wisdom of his master novel.
The High Mountains of Portugal is a suspenseful, mesmerising story of a great quest for meaning, told in three intersecting narratives that touch the lives of three different people and their families, and taking us on an extraordinary journey through the last century.
We begin in the early 1900s, when Tomás discovers an ancient journal and sets out from Lisbon in one of the very first motor cars in Portugal in search of the strange treasure the journal describes. Thirty-five years later, a pathologist devoted to the novels of Agatha Christie, whose wife has possibly been murdered, finds himself drawn into Tomás’s quest. Fifty years later, Senator Peter Tovy of Ottawa, grieving the death of his own beloved wife, rescues a chimpanzee from an Oklahoma research facility and takes it to live with him in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, where the strands of all three stories miraculously mesh together.
Beautiful, witty and engaging, Yann Martel’s new novel offers us the same tender exploration of the impact and significance of great love and great loss, belief and unbelief, that has marked all his brilliant, unexpected novels.
‘Martel is in a class by himself in acknowledging the tragic vicissitudes of life while celebrating wildly ridiculous contretemps that bring levity to the mystery of existence.’
‘Martel’s writing has never been more charming, a rich mixture of sweetness that’s not cloying and tragedy that’s not melodramatic…The High Mountains of Portugal attains an altitude from which we can see something quietly miraculous.’
‘This allegorical tale drives home the ephemeral nature of beauty and joy and the thin line we all walk between normalcy and madness, especially in the wake of loss.’
‘The moral and spiritual implications of [Martel’s] tale have, in the end, a quality of haunting tenderness.’
‘The prose is sharp, comical, and carries a deeply poignant message: though religion may be one person’s belief structure and another’s laughing stock, it is important to humanity.’
‘A remarkable novel.’
‘[Matel’s] depiction of loss is raw and deeply affecting – but it’s the way in which he contextualises it within formal religion that gives this book an extra dimension…Martel is not in the business of providing us with answers, but through its odd, fabulous, deliberately oblique stories, his new novel does ask some big questions.’
‘The brilliance of some of the ideas must be underscored: at times the story turns on a sixpence, from a flat terra firma to stunning surrealism…Not every book can take your breath away – but this one will.’
‘A wonderfully inventive, 20th-century-spanning odyssey that contains some of the finest writing of Martel’s career.’
‘Martel fills his novel with unusual, different, interesting, and often amusing, elements…There is plenty of humour, some of it dark, some of it laugh-out-loud, almost slapstick.’
‘[An] extravagant smorgasbord of a novel…at every turn Martel’s deft observations and quiet compassion for human suffering shine through.’
‘Told in unobtrusive, clean prose, The High Mountains of Portugal has the classic feel of a parable…Fascinating and ultimately satisfying.’
‘Martel’s narrative of men driven to adventurous lives by love and death strikes at something ancient and instinctual…his writing hums with a vivid populism.’
‘Once again, Martel plumbs the relationship between storytelling and truth and mixes tragedy with healthy doses of humor…Remarkable. This puzzle of a story woke me up in the middle of the night, and I’ve been turning over aspects of it for days.’
‘Another golden read…Just like Life of Pi, this book will pull you into all kinds of unexpected territory, making your heart beat a little stranger with every page.’
‘Just as ambitious, just as clever, just as existential and spiritual [as Life of Pi]…A book that rewards your attention, giving you much more to think about than most other novels you might read…An excellent book club choice.’
‘Exquisite and beguiling…The High Mountains of Portugal is a delightful and enlivening experience. Its very strangeness makes the world feel more comfortable.’
‘If you’re a fan of the fantastic and like to unpick philosophical puzzles about man’s relationship with religion and animals (not to mention Agatha Christie), then you should find this entertaining, and quite possibly, moving.’
‘Charming…Most Martellian is the boundless capacity for parable…Martel knows his strengths: passages about the chimpanzee and his owner brim irresistibly with affection and attentiveness.’
‘Filled with humor, sadness, love and adventure, it’s a perfect balance for those who want a feel-good book that still provides an insight into the human psyche.’
‘A profoundly human novel in its deep and quiet optimism…Gently humorous without becoming whimsical.’
‘A poignant and clever extravaganza of imagination.’
‘Touching, funny and insightful, The High Mountains of Portugal is a beautiful book.’