The Zahir | Paulo Coelho

I’m afraid my journey with Coelho is over. I was intrigued by The Alchemist, even though it smacked of neo-gnosticism. Veronica Decides to Die had such a twisted premise, I could overlook the philosophy. The Devil and Miss Prym, again, was such an interesting take on a folksy tale, I half-enjoyed it. In The Zahir, Coelho’s mushy spiritualism collided so violently with my worldview it was a chore to read.

I did enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the book—the cultures of Brazil, France and Kazakhstan combine to make interesting reading. Coelho’s prose is beautiful to read, as well. He moves effortlessly between dialogue and thought.

In the end, though, I’m tired of people thinking that leaving their old life behind will allow them to “find themselves”. That mid-life-crisis myth has spoiled too many relationships for me to take it seriously.

, ,

2 Responses to The Zahir | Paulo Coelho

  1. Greg September 7, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Well said, Steve. I also have enjoyed his beautiful and captivating writing style in the past. The Alchemist was an enjoyable read and there was nothing terribly upsetting about the book. Maybe that’s the problem. The ease at which I was able to digest his philosophies (even knowing that his ideas clashed with the truth of the gospel) was unsettling afterward. I suppose it would have been easier to dismiss had his writing been less subtle, but he’s a very crafty writer. He doesn’t really come out and say, “Hey, look! here’s what we should believe…” but lets the story become a more compelling device in relaying his views. That’s actually why I like his writing, but it makes me wary of this book, the Zahir. Think I’ll take your advice and just steer clear of it.

  2. Stephen Barkley September 7, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    I’m not sure I’d use the word, “crafty”. From what I can tell, Coelho’s faithful to his worldview, almost to the point of becoming an evangelist—which is precisely what Christians are. The Zahir was a good reminder that just because there’s synergy between his worldview and mine in some areas, it doesn’t make us the same.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes