Its subtlest, most appealing accomplishment may be in how other characters respond to Gregorius' precipitous swerve onto the spiritual path. (...) That said, Night Train to Lisbon is a very long, ambitious book that's feverishly overwritten. (...) Think of W.G. Sebald recast for the mass market: stripped of nuance, cooked at high temperature and pounded home, clause after clause. Some of the clumsiness derives from Barbara Harshav's inelegant translation -- we're often aware of her struggle -- but she can't be blamed for the pervasive bloat.