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Night Train to Lisbon

by Pascal Mercier

'Swiss classics teacher abandons everything to research Portuguese doctor' might be the summary of this book but Gregorius' search leads him to consider not just a life story but any life (and more particularly death), plus friendship, family and God. I normally read extremely quickly but this book I just had to savour.

Extract

'If only he hadn't been so mercilessly honest with himself. So possessed by the struggle against self-deception. Bearing the truth about himself can be demanded of man, he used to say. It was like a religious confession. A vow that bound him with Jorge. A credo that ultimately undermined even that sacred friendship. That damned sacred friendship.'
Translated by Barbara Harshav

Parallels

The Age of Reason by Jean Paul Sartre
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron
Le Testament Francais by Andrei Makine
 

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