Book Review: The Zahir
I just finished The Zahir by Paulo Coehlo. Not satisfied at all!!
NOTE: SPOILER POTENTIAL – Don’t read past this if you don’t want to know anything about the book!
I completely enjoyed the book until the final 30 pages or so. Up until that point, the book provided me with what I’m used to from Coelho – th simple life lessons that we all know yet for some reason continue to forget. He vividly creates an exciting world, with an extraordinary primary character, through whom the story unfolds, revealing insights to the longings that everyone has, without being too obvious and yet told in new and provoking ways. In particular, the chapter where the old man on the steppes of Khazakastan tells a story that in order for people to remember their dreams, they have to free themselves of their personal history – the only way to do so is to tell your stories and as you do so, fill those spaces up with new experiences… you’ll never forget the important things, and you’ll release the unimportant things. A very exhilirating concept.
But the last 30 pages seemed to suddenly change gears. They didn’t increase the the climax or the plot and instead seemed to just try to finish the story. Especially the last page – the dialogue and conclusion seemed to just contradic the entire book and the characters seemed to be pulled back to their initial dilema – sure i understand that the journey not the destination is one of the points, but if you don’t learn from that journey, then it’s pointless as well. I didn’t get it at all… it was though the two would just skip back 2 years and live life as though nothing had happened. Maybe I’m just not deep enough for this… not happy at all… even though this book had me gripped, I far more enjoyed his other books, The Alchemist and 11 Seconds, compared to this one. Comments anyone? I’d like to hear them.
At least, it did give me some additional info on what ‘the Zahir’ means – although, I had always understood it to be the search for intellect. Now I need to research that more…