Book Review: Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier


“Life is not what we live; it is what we imagine living” (p. 436)

A masterpiece. This is an excellent reading companion to Lisbon; it is rich, powerful and beautiful. It tries to answer existential questions by exploring one’s life and soul, our ancestors and socio-political influence. The philosophical side of the book gives new dimensions to meaning and offers understanding of our behaviours, decisions and desires – conversation and debate is defined as a “meeting of minds” rather than just “talking” (p.137). The story shows that it’s far from easy to live in the moment, start a new life or follow one’s heart. Difficult to put down. Highly recommended!

All quotations come from Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon, 2009, Atlantic Books, London.

What would you recommend as a reading companion when travelling to Lisbon? Please leave your recommendations in the comments below.

Written by Kinga Macalla

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