Book Review -The High Mountains of Portugal

by Yann Martel (Canongate) ISBN: 9781782114697
 

The Man Booker Prize-winning author of Life of Pi has written a new novel. It covers three stories of love and loss, weaved together by recurring themes of religion, magical realism and animal psychology. 

The first story is of the archivist Tomás who, in 1904, has started walking backwards since his loved ones passed away. He finds a 17th-century diary with a description of a mysterious crucifix and sets out to the High Mountains of Portugal, hoping to find it.

The second story takes place thirty-five years later. The pathologist Eusebio, a great fan of Agatha Christie, encounters a woman with her husband in a suitcase.

Both these stories are interesting, surreal, but it was when I started reading the last story about the senator who travels with an ape to Portugal, that I became engrossed. This is Martel at his best. The story revolves around the recently widowed Canadian Tovy. He purchases a chimpanzee and settles in his ancestral village in Portugal where people walk in reverse as an expression of grief. 

I can recommend this magical, marvellous book because of this third story.

Pauline Vijverberg
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5
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