Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you are....

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (August 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101874082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101874080
Behind the book:
A woman in her thirties begins to question the routine and predictability of her days. In everybody's eyes, she has a perfect life: happy marriage, children, and a career. Yet what she feels is an enormous sense of dissatisfaction. All that changes when she encounters a successful politician who had, years earlier, been her high school boyfriend. As she rediscovers the passion missing from her life, she will face a life-altering choice.

My thoughts:
This man elicits such profound emotions with his simple words which make you think and rethink all the notions we have assimilated, sometimes shattering them much to our discomfort.
I have not liked all the books I have read written by Paulo Coelho.  Some, I have liked in totality, some in parts, some I have been disappointed. Yet, it cannot be denied that this man imparts practicality and wisdom. His words jumps out and shakes you up. Whatever he says is nothing new, it is a knowledge we all possess and have lived, these are what we fail to acknowledged lest it bursts the bubble we have created around us.

It is also commendable that most of the protagonists of his stories are women.  When most of the world keeps on grappling about how it is difficult to understand women, this man not only writes about them, but he speaks and feels like a woman...dissecting every emotion, every thought and feeling with surgical precision.

This story is about the Linda, a perfect wife, a perfect mother who has everything in life. Yet, she feels stuck in the situation. Life is one big routine with nothing new happening. She confuses boredom with depression. She wants to live her life, make it more zestful and for this she is prepared to take risks.

For this want of adventure, she makes some mistakes. An attraction that turns into obsession which makes her think like Frankenstein. It is about how she enjoys her dual life knowing very well that it will not lead anywhere. Still, she is prepared to lose everything for it.  Does she lose everything she has, her marriage, her husband who stands by her no matter what and her innocent kids?

The author has explored the duality of our nature...the monster or the dark side which essentially resides in us and which takes over when we are vulnerable. But, how far we let the monster control us is the question?

Here are some excerpts from the novel which I liked -

"I am replacing my missing joy with something more concrete- a man - but that's not the point. This didn't begin with Jacob's appearance on the scene, and it won't end with his departure." This is when Linda is convinced that she might be suffering from depression.
"And I realize that my unconscious is transforming an imaginary problem into a real one. That's what always happens. That's how illness come about."

You don't choose your life; it choose you. There's no point asking why life has reserved certain joys and griefs, you just accept them and carry on. We can't choose our lives, but we can decide what to do with the joys and griefs we are given.

There's no better time than the autumn to begin forgetting the things that trouble us, allowing them to fall away like dried leaves.

A lot of people say time heals all wounds, but that isn't true. Apparently, time heals only the good things that we wish to hold on to forever. 

Everything we seek so enthusiastically before we reach adulthood - love, work, faith - turns into a burden too heavy to bear. This is only one way to escape this: love. To love is to transform slavery into freedom. 

We're always practicing self-control, trying to keep the monster from coming out of his hiding place.

Whoever says "love is enough" is lying. It isn't and it never has been. 

Dreaming isn't as simple as it seems. On the contrary, it can be quite dangerous. When we dream, we put powerful engines in motion and can no longer hide the true meaning of our life from ourselves. When we dream, we also make a choice of what price to pay.

The human brain is fascinating; we will forget a scent until we smell it again, we will erase a voice from our memory until we hear it again, and even emotions that seemed buried forever will be awakened when we return to the same place.

I cannot rate or give an verdict on this book.  I liked this book in totality. Having said that, I would have expected a bit more depth with the supporting characters.

Read Paulo Coelho's interview about this novel here.


  1. Outstanding review ! I would very much love to read the book only because you have put up the review so fantastically !

  2. Thanks Vasudha. Hope you won't be disappointed.


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