Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Eleven Minutes

by Paulo Coelho

HarperCollins Publishers; 2003

Price: RM49.90
Local distributor: MPH



"On 29th May 2002, just hours before I put the finishing touches to this book, I visited the Grotto in Lourdes, in France, to fill up a few bottles with miraculous water from the spring. Inside the Basilica, a gentleman in his seventies said to me: 'You know, you look like Paulo Coelho.' I said that I was Paulo Coelho. The man embraced me and introduced me to his wife and grand-daughter. He spoke of the importance of my books in his life, concluding: 'They make me dream.'"

Those are the words from Paulo Coelho in the preface of 'Eleven Minutes', the life-enhancing book that have cause great impact to millions of readers.

'Eleven Minutes' tells a story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heart-broken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that 'love is a terrible thing that make you suffer...'

That set the stage of her journey to discover love, fame and fortune which leads her into the world of prostitution. Maria drifts further and further away from love while at the same time developing a fascination with sex.

Eventually, Maria meets a handsome young painter and she has to consider which way she wants her life to be, that is, either to continue to pursue a path of darkness and sexual pleasures, or to risk everything to find her own inner self and the possibility of sex in the context of love.

In this novel, Paulo Coelho explores the sacred nature of sex and love and prejudices.

I began fascinated with Paulo's writing after reading his book, 'The Alchemist'. I used to dislike novels about fictional romance and have always prefered management books. My friend Mohd Adib drag me into the world of Paulo Coelho when he persuaded me to try read The Alchemist. To nurse my curiosity, I pick up that book and drag myself to read it. Thereafter, I have never turn back on any Paulo's book. I was totally intrigued by the beauty of Paulo's writing and no words can describe this discovery of profound knowledge.

The Alchemist established Paulo's worldwide fame. The book has already achieved the status of a modern classic, universally admired. Considered a timeless story, it will enchant and inspire a whole new readers from generations to come.

'Eleven Minutes', was no.1 in the 2003 annual list of Publishing Trends, which every year establishes which fiction works sell more copies worldwide.


Coelho was born in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro. He grew up in a deeply religious household and was educated by Jesuits. Paulo Coelho has led an extreme rebellious during his youth.

Paulo was determined to be a writer from his early years. When Coelho was 17, his parent sent him to an asylum because they thought he was psychotic. "My parent thought I was psychotic because I read a lot. I was very shy and I didn't socialise very easily. My parent were desperate. They didn't want to hurt me, but they didn't know what to do," Paulo relates.

Coelho escaped from the asylum three times and was eventually released in 1967. He then enrolled in Law School, only to drop out to become a hippy. He also wrote popular song lyrics for some of Brazil's famous pop music stars, including Elis Regina and Raul Seixas. Shortly after, he worked as a journalist.

Then, in 1974, Coelho was arrested for 'subversive' activities by the authorities (the authorities saw Coelho's lyrics as leftwing and dangerous).

In 1986 Paulo Coelho walked the Road to Santiago, a medieval pilgrim's route between France and Spain. He would later describe this experience in his book, The Pilgrimage, published in 1987. The following year, his second book The Alchemist established his worldwide fame.

Paulo Coelho have the Guinness World Record for most translations (53) of a single title (The Alchemist) signed in one sitting (45 minutes). The record has been attained as a result of an international book signing hold at the Frankfurt Book Fair (2003).

Coelho's books tend to feature some sort of spiritual quest.

In his words: "I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don't hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am."

"Many people love my work, some hate it, but I've never stopped to think about it, and I'll go on without giving a thought - what really matters to me is to know that I can share my soul with those who understand me."

"I'm a human being, in its full condition, with its positive and negative sides. But I keep my ethics and when I break it, I'm not ashamed to apologize. I think that people waste a lot of time trying to improve themselves - and they do it by following other people's patterns. What's the meaning of being better? In my opinion, it is the constant daily struggle in search of my own dream. Man improves himself as he follows his path; if he stands still, waiting to improve before he makes a decision, he'll never move."


Paulo Coelho Posted by Hello


Other titles by Coelho include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), Maktub (1994) - a compilation of his daily columns, By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept (1994), The Fifth Mountain (1996), The Manual of the Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika Decides to Die (1998) and The Devil and Miss Prym (2000).

Coelho’s latest novel 'O Zahir' reaches the Brazilian bookstores on April 2nd 2005. It is already the number one in the bestseller lists of all 83 countries in which it has been released; the only exception is in Germany, where it is number two, behind Da Vinci Code (another great novel). O Zahir was published in 83 countries and in 42 languages throughout the globe.

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired millions of delighted readers around the world. His story is told in dazzling simplicity and wisdom. His writings is a must read! For those who have not yet read any of his bestsellers, you should start reading his first charting novel - The Pilgrimage and The Alchemist. Eleven Minutes is also a must read.

2 comments:

Mohd Adib Noh said...

Thanks for the review.I just finished reading The Zahir.To me,it is more like the batin(more inner self than external self).

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Eleven Minutes: A Novel (P.S.) by Paulo Coelho. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.