The High Mountains of Portugal

The High Mountains of Portugal

A Novel

Large Print - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The author of the bestselling "Life of Pi" returns to the storytelling power and luminous wisdom of his master novel.
In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomas 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 Tomas s 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.
"The High Mountains of Portugal" part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss. Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, it takes the reader on a road trip through Portugal in the last century and through the human soul."
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Michigan : Wheeler Publishing, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016, ♭2016
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410487476
Branch Call Number: LP MART
Characteristics: 451 pages ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 09, 2020

This is a book that takes a bit of time to get into, but once I finished it, I appreciated it as a whole. When you finish reading, many earlier parts will connect and make sense. I think this story could make a good film! The writing is very good. I want to visit Portugal now!

Apr 09, 2020

Had a very difficult time with the characters in the novel. they were not sympathetic or relate-able. The plot is thin and loosely connected between the three chapters. The prose is excellent. Overall for me this is an okay read but not something very compelling.

Aug 19, 2019

Part one caught my attention, though it seemed to go nowhere and then without resolution came part two which was simply absurd. I have had enough of authors who write one good novel to much acclaim then slide into careless ... trash which is supposed to be allegory. It is not worth the trouble.

Dec 18, 2018

I really enjoyed the writing in this book, and although the three stories could have confused me a bit, I also enjoyed the slim threads connecting these three stories. I think reading this book and trying to figure out, to come to an understanding, to decipher the themes really requires one to discuss with others all the nuances. On the surface it is a mishmash of inconceivable incomprehensible characters and happenings, but underneath there are passions and emotions aplenty, as well as religious and familial themes. Talk amongst yourselves to get the full impact of this work.

Oct 07, 2018

This was definitely not the book for me. Too esoteric. The use of words, the style of writing, was wonderful though, as one would expect from this author, but for me the story itself was ... blah.

May 07, 2018

This was a memorable read. By briefly settling on three different people experiencing different losses Yann Martel brings their feelings to our own experiences with loss and how we move forward from them. There is so much i could talk about but it should be left for readers to discover themselves. It resonated so strongly with me and the losses i have felt for those gone and those gone while living. This was a phenomenal read to discover.

Apr 01, 2018

As always, Martel writes in religious allegory. His complex tales are filled with subtle magical absurdity that is entirely up to us to interpret. His excellent earlier book, *Life of Pi,* likens life to a story, quietly suggesting a story that includes God is the better story. *The High Mountains of Portugal* asks us to consider if a story with God is also necessary because a difficult life without a framework of meaning is impossible to endure. Or perhaps Martel is just writing about automobiles, autopsies, and apes. But I suppose that wouldn't be the better story.

May 02, 2017

A sad book. But a wonderful one.

I welcomed the library reviews to warn me that this was 3 short stories, vaguely connected. By not trying to make sense of the plot I was better able to appreciate the pathos of this story of grief suffered by fathers who have lost their sons and the suggestion of a resolution in the returning Canadians whose father-son relationship resolves in the high mountains of their ancestral village. I could not finish Life of Pi but I am glad I had a chance to read another of Martel's books and find some enjoyment in his unusual writing style.

Jan 30, 2017

This book left me feeling like there was something I was missing. The description of a man learning to drive one of the first cars through remote villages was farcical until it turned tragic. The 2nd story veered into surrealism and the 3rd brought the first two together but left me hanging, wondering whether I had not paid close enough attention to the details or wasn't smart enough to understand the allegory.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FSPL

To Top