Genre: Philosophy, Fantasy and maybe some self-help
So this was definitely a book that should be read slowly. And I mean at snail pace. This is a book that needs to be absorbed. Its not like his usual books which are usually life lessons cocooned in a story which really infuses into your soul. This book just blatantly put “it” out there for the world. It was philosophical no doubt, but it lost its ability to affect me because there was no context involved. Yes, it covered an entire range of issues that we need to deal with; but like his previous books, Coelho should not have attempted to shove all of his wisdom into one book. The book lost me.
Although I don’t think I could absorb much from this book, I do not think it is because the book is bad. The thing about some books is that, to really learn anything from them you have to be in that very specific point in your life. In that state of mind that allows the wisdom from a book to flow through to you.
I understood this when I was forcefully lent a Coelho book in a very rocky time in my life. At one point; when I lived in Malaysia, my life was in a disarray and my mind was overloaded with stress, worry and the worst of all diseases; clinical depression. I read the Zahir. I don’t know how I sat through it though. It was probably because I hate leaving a book unfinished, because I don’t think any other force on the planet could have made me sit through the entire book, line after line, page after page. I hated every minute of it. But I read it anyway. I generalized my dislike of the book to the author and bluntly stated that I hated this author and would never read a book of his again. I never took into account my own life and the circumstances in which I read it. I think that is so important. I think this is one rule you can apply to everything in life. All of what you perceive is relative to the person you are, the life you’ve lived and your experiences. As a whole and individually.
Anyways, I came back home to Pakistan and a friend lent me The Alchemist; highly recommending it and forcing it on me. I gave it a shot. Reading it was the best decision of my life. That book and Veronica Decides to Die have a solid place in my most favourite books shelf.
So I guess. When it comes to a book like this, I’d prefer it if people made their own choice. No doubt the man has wisdom that he manages to communicate to the soul of a person. Maybe this time, it was me who was lacking in understanding. Maybe the book wasn’t as bland as it seemed. Maybe I need to revisit this book and the Zahir at a time in my life when I am more at peace than I am now.
This book is going in the need-to-revisit shelf. Cheers.