Before Life of Pi sold more than 12 million copies around the world and was made into a movie subsequently nominated for 11 Academy Awards and before he’d won the English-language’s most prestigious fiction prize, Yann Martel began writing a novel set in Portugal.
The High Mountains of Portugal is a suspenseful, mesmerizing story of a great quest for meaning, told in three intersecting narratives touching the lives of three different people and their families, and taking us on an extraordinary journey through the last century. We begin in the early 1900s, when Tomás discovers an ancient journal and sets out from Lisbon in one of the very first motor cars in Portugal in search of the strange treasure the journal describes. Thirty-five years later, a pathologist devoted to the novels of Agatha Christie, whose wife has possibly been murdered, finds himself drawn into the consequences of Tomás’s quest. Fifty years later, Senator Peter Tovy of Ottawa, grieving the death of his own beloved wife, rescues a chimpanzee from an Oklahoma research facility and takes it to live with him in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, where the strands of all three stories miraculously mesh together.
Yann Martel joined Simi in studio to discuss his new book, his writing process, why he sent former Prime Minister Stephen Harper 101 letters, and how his life has changed after the success of Life of Pi.