The 3 best Lisbon Books according to Gringa Journeys – after reading you can swap them at our hotel.
One of the best ways to become familiar with a city before your trip is to read about it! For my upcoming vacation to Lisbon, Portugal, I did exactly that. From thrillers to a bit of history, here are my three favorite books about Lisbon – Lea writes on her blog Gringa Journeys and list her 3 three picks.
We agree – and the suggestions are definitely worth bringing or reading before. We have added a few reviews.
Looking forward to read more about Lea’s travel to Lisbon
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel
Night Train to Lisbon is a novel of ideas that reads like a thriller: an unsentimental journey that seems to transcend time and space. Every character, every scene, is evoked with an incomparable economy and a tragic nobility redolent of the mysterious hero, whom we only ever encounter through the eyes of others.
The author, too, seems to enjoy keeping his readers at arm’s length. Pascal Mercier is the pseudonym of the Swiss philosopher Peter Bieri, who retired early from a chair in Berlin to write novels.
His major academic work, The Craft of Freedom, is a study of free will. Intriguingly, it opens with an epigraph from a nonexistent book, On Deception and Self-Deception in Philosophy, by the fictional Amadeu Prado’s grandfather – the kind of learned tease Gregorius would appreciate.
Having situated himself on the disputed border between fact and fiction, Pascal Mercier now takes his rightful place among our finest European novelists.
In 2013 The Night Train to Lisbon was released as a movie starring Jeremy Irons. It has some super Lisbon scenes.
The Portuguese: A Modern History
Barry Hatton, a Lisbon-based foreign correspondent which has lived in Portugal for more than two decades, shares his thoughts and his research in his book “The Portuguese: A Modern History”.
The book portrays a lively and accurate account of a nation which experienced disaster, dictatorship, revolution and economic woes and that once was a world power but today is more often than not left on the sidelines of world news.
One of the reasons that motivated Barry Hatton to write this book is that some negative stereotypes held against the Portuguese are far from the truth. He describes a society of a modern country and some of their attributes which made them able to survive along these 800 years of history, like for example, the genuine spirit of “desenrascanço” or how to disentangle yourself out of a bad situation. He also describes other cultural aspects like the food, music and the very Portuguese peculiarity of disorderliness.
A Small Death in Lisbon
The whole is a suspenseful, intricately plotted, violent and steamy tale that, while not persuasive in absolutely every detail, is an impressive piece of work. Mr. Wilson’s book puts one in mind of the best writers working in the international thriller genre, the likes of John le Carre and Martin Cruz Smith.
‘A Small Death in Lisbon” provokes an intense experience in reading. You will turn the last page of this compelling novel almost out of breath.