The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
This is a typical Paulo Coelho book, based on a particular country and its mysticism and the messages it gives. This time it is Kazakhstan and France and the context is human relationships. Zahir is an Urdu / Arabic word for ‘Visible’, but those who understand these languages would know that it meaning is much deeper than just that. But the author has used the word in a very different context, he says when you are absolutely lost in your beloved and you can not see anything but that person, that person becomes your ‘Zahir’.
It’s a story of a writer (looks biographical at times), whose wife leaves him and goes and lives in a far off Kazakhstan, after her own realizations as a war journalist, after she sees the death very closely and realizes that war is necessary to live and to feel the real love. She becomes a mentor for a lot of people who are seeking love and searching for meaning in life but this is also the time she does not connect with her husband who is too lost in his worldly affairs and success. To make him feel, what she has learnt through as a war correspondent and through other people who have visions, she leaves him and goes and lets him long for her. While she waits for him, she knows that he is going through the process of learning what she wants him to learn and when the process is completed he would find his way to her and they would be back together.
This is the sixth Paulo Coelho book that I read, and this is certainly not his best book. ‘Veronica’ remains my favorite till date. The narrative is confusing at times and the message that comes out very discreetly in his previous books is missing. The book does not seem to be coming from heart, but more from a pressure or need to write another book. Read it if you are a Coelho fan, otherwise it is avoidable.