Monday, 23 July 2012

The Zahir - Paulo Coelho

Date of Reading: 15/09/2007
Author: Paulo Coelho
Translated by: Margaret Jull Costa
Publisher: Harper Collins with India Today
Place: New Delhi
Year: 2005

          Though I like 'Alchemist' and even admire 'The Fifth Mountain', I was never a fan of Paulo Coelho. With this book I have stopped reading him altogether. Not that the book is bad, just it is not my type.
          Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incaple of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness.
         One day a renowned author discovers that his wife, a war correspondent, has disappeared leaving no trace. Though time brings more success and new love, he remains mystified -- and increasingly fascinated -- by her absence. She becomes his Zahir. Was she kidnapped, blackmailed or simly bored with their marriage? The unrest she causes is as strong as the attraction she exerts.
         His search for her and the truth of his own life, takes him from South America to Spain, France, Croatia and eventually, the bleaky beautiful landscape of Central Asia. More than that, it leads him into a new understanding of the nature of love, the power of destiny and what it really means to follow your heart.
         Esther, his wife has left him because of her unhappiness. Through her friend Mikhail the narrator finds her in Kazhakisthan. He changes his name to 'Nobody' to begin a new life as per the custom of the village. For him love is the most powerful thing. Marriage doesn't mean keeping only one partner. Esther was pregnant by somebody but that doesn't prevent their union.

Lines I Liked:

"When someone leaves it's because someone else is about to arrive -- I will find love again".

"freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose -- and commit myself to -- what is best for me".


  1. That is a lovely review, starting with the explanation of the word 'Zahir'. You have summoned the tension of the book well enough. I will surely pick up this one by Paulo Coelho. My only gripe is, you have revealed the end.

    1. Umashankar, revealing the end doesn't matter in case of paulo you will find the same rythm from page 1 till end

    2. I agree. His books are more about discovery of the self

  2. I have read this book... Though I am not convinced still I liked the concept Zahir...
    of course paulo is not everybody-read types

  3. Excellent & remarkable post! I have been visiting various blogs for my Thesis writing help. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information... reparo de para-brisas

    1. Thank you, that's the best remark I have got yet...

  4. I hardly understand the ending, did esther went back to paris with the protagonist or did she went with mikael?

    And who is the biological father of the child, my guess is mikael but i can be wrong


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