Perlmann's Silence

Perlmann's Silence Cover

Perlmann's Silence

By Pascal Mercier; Shaun Whiteside (Translator)

Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802119575, 624pp.

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Description
A tremendous international success and a huge favorite with booksellers and critics, Pascal Mercier's "Night Train to Lisbon" has been one of the best-selling literary European novels in recent years. Now, in "Perlmann's Silence," the follow up to his triumphant North American debut, Pascal Mercier delivers a deft psychological portrait of a man striving to get his life back on track in the wake of his beloved wife's death.
Philipp Perlmann, prominent linguist and speaker at a gathering of renowned international academics in a picturesque seaside town near Genoa, is struggling to maintain his grip on reality. Derailed by grief and no longer confident of his professional standing, writing his keynote address seems like an insurmountable task, and, as the deadline approaches, Perlmann realizes that he will have nothing to present. Terror-stricken, he decides to plagiarize the work of Leskov, a Russian colleague. But when Leskov's imminent arrival is announced and threatens to expose Perlmann as a fraud, Perlmann's mounting desperation leads him to contemplate drastic measures.
An exquisite, captivating portrait of a mind slowly unraveling, "Perlmann's Silence" is a brilliant, textured meditation on the complex interplay between language and memory, and the depths of the human psyche.


Praise For Perlmann's Silence

Praise for Perlmann’s Silence

Perlmann’s Silence is a self-reflexive, analytically philosophical thriller and action novel in the best artistic tradition. . . [Mercier’s] immense outlay of knowledge and reflection always cuts through to a precise observation even of everyday events.”Friedmar Apel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)

A poignant read, and so hauntingly realistic. . . . A colossal literary artwork” Südkurier (Germany)

An intelligent and considered novel. . . . Entertaining yet erudite.” Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)

Praise for Night Train to Lisbon

A mother lode of insight. . . . Mercier has captured a time in historyone of those timeswhen men must take a stand.” Valerie Ryan, The Seattle Times

Darkly dreamlike . . . More than any mystery . . . since, say, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, Night Train to Lisbon challenges the reader, both intellectually and philosophically.”Bruce Tierney, BookPage

A treat for the mind. One of the best books I have read in a long time.” Isabel Allende

Rich, dense, star-spangled . . . The novels of Robert Stone come to mind, and Elias Canetti’s Auto-da-Fe, and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, and Kobo Abe’s The Ruined Map, not to mention Marcus Aurelius and Wittgenstein. . . [but] what Night Train to Lisbon really suggests is Roads to Freedom, Jean-Paul Sartre’s breathless trilogy about identity-making.” John Leonard, Harper’s Magazine

Celebrates the beauty and allure of language . . . adroitly addresses concepts of sacrifice, secrets, memory, loneliness, infatuation, tyranny, and translation.” Tony Miksanek, Chicago Sun-Times

One reads this book almost breathlessly, can hardly put it down. . . . A handbook for the soul, intellect, and heart.” Gunther Nickel, Die Welt (Germany)

Dreamlike . . . A meditative, deliberate exploration of loneliness, language and the human condition . . . The reader is transported and, like Gregorius, better for having taken the journey.”Debra Ginsberg, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Readers will be rewarded . . . by the involving, unpredictable, and well-constructed plot and Mercier’s virtuosic orchestration of a large and memorable cast of characters. As the stories of Gregorius and de Prado draw together, this becomes a moving meditation on the defining moments in our lives, the silent explosions that change everything.’Forest Turner, Library Journal

One of the most thoughtful and entertaining novels to come out of Europe in a decade . . . a smart, heartfelt, thoroughly enjoyable book written for thinking adults, and the most recent incarnation, from Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf right down to Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, of that potent, ever-popular myththe book that changes your life. . . . Go ahead and buy this onebelieve me, you'll want to read it more than once.”Nick Dimartino, Shelf Awareness

The age-old intellectual’s dilemma, considered in a compelling blend of suspenseful narrative and discursive commentary . . . an intriguing fiction.” Kirkus Reviews

A meditative novel that builds an uncanny power through a labyrinth of memories and philosophical concepts that illuminate the narrative from within. . . . a remarkable immediacy that makes for a rare reading pleasure.” San Francisco Chronicle

The artful unspooling of Prado’s fraught life is richly detailed: full of surprises and paradoxes, it incorporates a vivid rendering of the Portuguese resistance to Salazar . . . . comes through on the enigmas of trying to live and write under fascism.” Publishers Weekly

One of the great European novels of the past few years.” Page des libraires (France)

A book of astonishing richness . . . a visionary writer . . . a deserved international smash.” Le Canard enchaîné (France)

The stuff of fine fiction . . . has the coloration and feel of Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams or Peter Handke’s Crossing the Sierra de Gredos.”The Morning News

As mesmerizing and dreamlike as a Wong Kar-wai film, with characters as strange and alienated as any of the filmmaker’s . . . Mercier . . . is a master at mixing ideas and plot. . . . Prado’s ruminative autobiography [is] reminiscent of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations or Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. . . . unforgettable moments of crystalline, even poetic, insight.” Bookforum

A sensation. The best book of the last ten years . . . A novel of incredible clarity and beauty.” Bücher (Germany)

Powerful, serious, and brilliant . . . constitutes one of the true revelations of this season.” L’Humanité (France)

Impressive . . . a life lesson and a model of lucidity.” La Quinzaine (France)

Mercier draws together all the big existential questions in this masterful novel. . . . visionary.” Volkskrant (Netherlands)

Mercier has erected a monument to literature. And he has done it wonderfully, with the full weight of his philosophical knowledge.” La Stampa (Italy)

Absolutely recommended.” De Telegraaf (Netherlands)

A novel for people with great expectations for literature . . . written with brilliance, incomparable talent and obvious artistic power, and a wide knowledge of the human nature, mind, and soul.” Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)

Taps into some of the oldest veins of story, the primal ones of night journeys, of a distant land, of being stuck in-place, and yet adrift . . . Pascal Mercier does all of this and more, masterfully, alertly, intelligently. . . . I’m not sure how much this book might teach any of us how to livethat’s for anyone to decidebut it has helped remind this reader of what it is to really read.”Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company

Contains style, narrative richness and philosophy . . . I read it in three nights. Then I was convinced to change my life.” Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)

A serious and beautiful book about the examined life.” Le Monde (France)

Mercier has founded a new artistic tradition in the novel.” La Quinzaine littéraire (France)

A book in which poetry and philosophy are intimately intertwined.” Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland)

Both philosophical and spell-binding . . . a novel to absorb . . . One and a half million German readers can’t be wrong: Philosophy can go to the heart!” Politiken (Denmark)

An existentialist novel with a post-modern view of the self, a well-researched taste of the magical city Lisbon, but also a searching picture of an unusual and rarely described protagonist’s life in it’s most appalling and life-affirming phase.” Nordjyske Stiftstidende (Denmark)

Exceptional . . . a thriller of a philosophical novel. You cheat yourself by not bringing this book with you for the holiday.” Weekendavisen (Denmark)

Beautiful . . . An elegant narrative of the exploration of one human being by another. . . . throw[s] as much light as it seems possible on the inexhaustible question: What does it mean to be a human being, and to what extent can we know each otherand ourselves?” Børsen (Denmark)

You are not the same person you were before you started reading. This is very likely the biggest compliment you can give a noveland this book deserves it.” Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark)

An intense novel, an initiation into the interior life for refined palates.” La Repubblica (Italy)