The High Mountains of Portugal

  • by Yann Martel
  • Narrated by Mark Bramhall
  • 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the international publishing sensation Life of Pi comes the story of a quest for a lost relic.
The journey takes us from Africa in the 1600s through Portugal at the turn of the last century to contemporary North America.
Showcasing Martel's trademark delight in the fundamental stories that unite us, The High Mountains of Portugal unfolds with a dazzling lightness of touch. With its intricately woven layers of meaning and all the pleasures and surprises of a good yarn, it is also a beautiful, tender, clear-eyed and heartfelt exploration of love, suffering, faith and evolution.
By turns funny, tragic and sublime, The High Mountains of Portugal reminds us that it is our ability to weave remarkable stories out of our spiritual and philosophical concerns that makes us - and keeps us - human.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Realism can break a writer's heart.


Magical realism is hard to achieve because it requires a bit of magic otherwise it moves into the arena of surrealism and the absurd this book has a bit of both and I would say too much of the absurd.

More than a novel this are three novelas joined by images or parables, shared as glue that is not sticky enough to truly unite them.

The first story starts in 1908 and looks back thru a memoir to the 17th century when Portugal was and empire and its priest were converting the ones they enslaved. Its absurdity is hard to take but still has a strange charm.

The second story is a strange religious parable with more information on autopsies than most would ever want to know and has an absurdity and magic that are full of sadness.

The third story has more accomplished magical realism and should have been the only story that made it in a longer format. It is full of mystery and tension, while exploring some very interesting ideas about nature and mankind it also describes the charms of rural Portugal with true sensitivity making you believe in the impossible and a gives some unexpected delights.

Overall I did enjoy the book but it was a bit disjointed and unfocused on its message, but it still had enough interesting ideas and good stories to make it interesting.
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- Wras "Kildonan by the sea"

Well worth the long wait

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to a friend as it is a clever and complex story that looks at several themes including faith and loss.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The High Mountains of Portugal?

The second story stood out for me, I found it very moving without being sentimental.


What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

It was very well read with a good pace and clever and subtle characterisation.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book made me smile rather than laugh in parts. There was an undercurrent of melancholy throughout which was never overplayed.


Any additional comments?

Whilst not always receiving great reviews I thought this was a very worthy follow up to Pi. Martel is essentially a storywriter and a quite brilliant one at his best. The book is basically three short stories with a tenuous link, but three excellent stories in their own right.

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- Mr. P. J. Curt "Peter C"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-02-2016
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd