This is a book which can be read on different levels! At least for me. I can think about a paragraph and the import of those lines OR I can read it for the story from start to finish. Some lines are priceless. Some lines, I just think: What??!!!
I am nearing the end! What is going to happen?
It ends perfectly.
This book is very philosophical! Definitely not for everyone, and it is kind of wordy, but boy is there a lot to think about.....
Some reviewers remark that it is poorly translated from the German, the author being Swiss, but I think the lines flow beautifully. There are lines in French which are not translated but the Portuguese is! I bet that those who know Portuguese will delight in those lines. Why? Well, because words have a poetry to them. That is one of the many themes of this book. You remove one word and all the others change their meaning. In this respect, the audiobook format is the one to choose.
Sean Barrett does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. An audiobook filled with foreign names, as this one is, is a bit daunting. Perhaps a paper book is easier to follow. In addition, when reading a paper book it is easier to stop and ponder the lines. I don't know how many times I had to stop and rewind, so I had time to think, to figure out what I thought about the philosophical message.
I would only recommend this book to a reader who enjoys philosophical meanderings.... about what we want to get from life, our true identities, loyalty and love and friendship. The themes are numerous. I am very, very glad I read this book, and yet I only gave it three stars! That is because not all the lines "worked" for me, but some of them were absolutely, stunningly perfect!
I better add, this is a work of fiction. The characters are completely fictional. Except of course the Portuguese dictator, Salazar.
I was so moved by the primary message of this book that it has already changed what I want to do in one particular situation, and I believe it will continue to influence my choices in the future. Quite a book!
If you live your entire life doing what is safe you do nothing at all.