I just finished reading “11 minutes” prior to starting “The Kite Runner” and I have got to say, I tried people, I really did, I just don’t see what people see in Paulo.
It all started a couple of years ago, I got an e-mail from university announcing:
“Famous Brazilian author comes to Egypt”
Truth is I’d heard about Paulo Coehlo but had never read any of his books. My friends are really big fans so I thought I’d tag along. Faculty was crowded and the room was jam-packed. I had bought “The Alchemist” that morning yet hadn’t had a chance to look through it.
He walked in looking very “average”, our “revered” faculty Dean introduced him going on and on about what an amazing author he is. On a personal level, I have a 30 second attention span, I was long gone, I had with me the book I’d bought so I started reading. I have to admit the book isn’t bad, the language is very straightforward.
Finally they call on Coehlo to speak. He takes some questions, answers a few then is generous enough to hold a book-signing/picture-taking session.
I finished the book later that night.
I don’t usually like book endings. To my surprise I actually liked the ending of “The Alchemist“. The first book in a really long time that I genuinely believe has the perfect ending.
Having said that there are things I didn’t like about the book. Prior to my reading it a friend had described it as being a “naive” story. I couldn’t agree more. Its a smart yet simple idea which he attempted to make a big production of. I felt it was very poorly executed. Too much philosophy, reference to religion, self discovery mumbo-jumbo. I thought it was just The Alchemist, but 2 books later my views still stand. I don’t believe in such an overly optimistic, overly philosophical, psycho-analyzed, religiously in-tuned vision of the world. Life is a lot simpler and a lot more complicated.
Maybe its because it is translated.
Maybe its just me.
There are a couple of things he said that I do agree with him on:
“You should never meet your idols, idols are surreal, like Greek gods, to be admired yet never encountered in person”.
“You can’t plan writing a book, when the book is ready it will be written”
“No matter where you start or where you end, its the journey and what you learn along the way that really matters”.