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  • The High Mountains of Portugal

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Yann Martel
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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The High Mountains of Portugal

Written by: Yann Martel
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
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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

What the critics say

"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)

What listeners say about The High Mountains of Portugal

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circles within life

I couldn't leave it for a minute, altough sometimes the sufferings were difficult to bare.
But there is also optimism and positive closure.

1 person found this helpful

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Deep and beautiful

Life, love, suffering, relationship and the connection of all things are set in profound context and revealed with sensitive clarity as the listener is called towards an irresistibly deep self-examination and to gaze upon everything and everyone through new eyes.

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  • J. Blanchard
  • 2016-02-26

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.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Ying Zhang
  • 2018-01-23

This is NOT a book for all

If you could sum up The High Mountains of Portugal in three words, what would they be?

fascinating, bitter-sweet, touching

Which scene was your favorite?

the part of autonomy

If you could rename The High Mountains of Portugal, what would you call it?

I won't change a word!

Any additional comments?

This is NOT a book for all. It's a book for whoever searching for believes or meanings of life.
I enjoyed a lot during the reading.

I'm NOT a believer. I'm Chinese. But cultural difference doesn't stop me enjoy reading this book. I have certain knowledge of Buddhism, Daoism, and Christianism, and I can find them all within this book. For me, the ultimate goal of any religion(even psychology) is to give you inner peace, consolation, and I can find those in this book. Religion is only the skin the author use to convey his idea, and much more were showed beneath it.

So, I suggest those who want to read this book but are religion-averse, to keep this in mind: it's not about religion, it's about the pain everyone might encounter, and ways to deal with it, and the rare sparkles in life. If you can focus on those feelings, you won't mind much if the language is religious or non-religious, or if the author is trying to propagandize religion or not.

One more reason of me loving this book is that the second part talks about Agatha Christie's book and the theory the author made to explain why everyone is guilty in the bible is a mind blown to me. It actually makes a lot of sense.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 2016-10-31

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • green ice cream garden
  • 2016-03-07

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 2016-02-07

Simply beautiful

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

8 people found this helpful

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  • michael c. hughes
  • 2016-02-11

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Agnes
  • 2016-03-14

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!😩😩😩😩😩

4 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 2016-02-08

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 people found this helpful

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  • Sharey
  • 2016-03-02

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 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 2016-02-26

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.

3 people found this helpful