Book Title: The Zahir

Author: Paulo Coelho

No. of pages: 193

Publisher: HarperCollins

Rating: 4/5

Paulo Coelho quotes in The Zahir, “No one should ever ask themselves that: why am I unhappy?” One should ask why someone is unhappy. 

This is a question that carries the virus within itself and has the tendency to destroy everything. If we want to find out what makes us unhappy, we might go on a journey to find the answer to this question. And then we would try to change this. We might end up feeling more than one emotion or maybe all of them at once. 

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About Paulo Coelho 

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist. Before being a novelist, he worked as a theatre director and actor, lyricist, and journalist. In 1982, Paulo Coelho published his first book that failed. After The Pilgrimage book, he published The Alchemist in 1988, which was widely received by critics and is still loved by many readers around the world. 

The Zahir Book Review: Novel by Paulo Coelho

The Zahir book starts with a little thought and ends with an obsession. The story begins with an unnamed narrator who lives in Paris with his significant other, Esther, a war reporter who communicates in four dialects. 

Their marriage has hit a dry spot, and she is fretful, needing to proceed onward looking for her happiness. At the point when Esther vanishes, he is tortured and damaged by the secret of what has befallen her. Has she been abducted, executed, or has she left him for someone else?

At the point when the storyteller reports his wife’s vanishing, the police keep him in doubt of unfairness. The storyteller’s mistress shows up and gives him vindication, getting his release. 

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The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession 

As soon he is released, the storyteller is fixated on discovering his wife and revealing reality: his Zahir. Loaded up with blame and guilt, he ponders his life before he met his significant other and how her confidence and backing empowered his prosperity as an arising writer. As he continued looking for answers, the storyteller tracks down that large numbers of Esther’s things are missing, including her visa, which persuades that she has, without a doubt, left him and the country.

To divert himself from the feeling of blame and misfortune, the storyteller starts another affair with Marie, who was an entertainer. The reclamation fills in as his motivation for another novel, a sincerely charged work to a great extent about his affection for Esther. During the book launch, the storyteller meets with Mikhail, perhaps the dearest companion with whom he speculates she has been romantically involved. He discovers that Esther has been working as a reporter, even though he had opposed this. This constrains him to wrestle with Esther’s developing misery during their marriage. He talks to Marie, Marie, who asks him to discover more from Mikhail, even though she doubts him for being a troubled and mad man. 

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The book’s narrator might have everything, success, money, lifestyle, and fame, but it all comes down to love the sour feeling that kept him in his jaws. He remembers a story by Jorge Luis Borges about a mystical coin.

“A year later, I wake thinking about the story by Borges, about something which, once touched or seen, can never be forgotten, and which gradually so fills our thoughts that we are driven to madness. My Zahir is not a romantic metaphor — a blind man, a compass, a tiger, or a coin. It has a name, and her name is Esther.”

The obsession to find lost love

The Zahir book shows how a man struggles with his obsession with finding someone and his obsession drives him to be in places he did not think of and to meet and connect with people he had no idea he would be. The storyteller’s battle is that of a man attempting to deal with something he can’t comprehend or control: the secret of Esther’s silent absence. It is difficult for him to relinquish his inclination that she is the one in particular who fills his existence with importance. The internal excursion he takes frees him up to additional opportunities.

Coelho has not made a definite show stopper as same as The Alchemist, yet he made this book feel alive as a person who has travelled himself daintily. There were some beautiful lessons in them, bits of knowledge, but the strongest one is ‘obsession.’ The unending war of finding peace, and inner self by stepping into dim obscure.  

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