Today I finished reading one of the best examples of literary fiction I have read to date. Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier, pseudonym for author Peter Bieri, follows the story of Swiss language professor, Raimund Gregorius.
An unusual encounter with a beautiful Portuguese woman is the catalyst for Gregorius’ journey to Lisbon. His roadmap is a book by Amadeu de Prado called The Goldsmith of Words. So elegantly written are the passages of this fictional book that many have gone in search of it as well as its equally fictional author.
With Prado’s words guiding him, Gregorius delves deeper into the mystery surrounding the life of the enigmatic author, doctor, and resistance fighter during Salazar’s dictatorship. He meets friends and relatives of Prado who piece by piece put together a picture of who Amadeu Prado was.
Upon conclusion of the novel, I felt as if I was leaving old friends behind. Traveling with Gregorius from his mundane existence in Bern to the rediscovery of life in Lisbon proved to be extremely satisfying. The philosophical questions posed in the book are not for the timid or easily offended. Still, I would highly recommend Night Train to Lisbon as an extremely worthy read.