The Zahir by Paulo Coelho - Book Review

The Zahir

The Zahir by Paulo Coelho - Book Review

When you hear the name Paulo Coelho, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘The Alchemist’. The Brazilian novelist has authored a number of best-sellers and ‘The Zahir’ is one of them.

Narrated in the first person by a barely fictitious popular novelist who resides in Paris, The Zahir is sort of a continuation of The Alchemist, although having read the latter is not a prerequisite.

The Zahir, a word derived from Islamic culture, is described as “something which, once touched or seen, can never be forgotten, and which gradually so fills our thoughts that we are driven to madness.”

In short, the word is synonymous with obsession. Through this novel, the author attempts to persuade the readers in recognizing their own Zahir.

The story begins with a famed author looking for his missing wife (his Zahir), an accomplished war correspondent who just fled Iraq recently, only to disappear from Paris.

The narrator then embarks on a convoluted physical and spiritual journey that results in him becoming acquainted with an unconventional group of people, who attempt to defy the ordinary way of life.

He meets his wife’s supposed lover, Mikhail (don’t feel bad for the author, he has a lover too), a young man from Kazakhstan, and ends up traveling to the Middle-East in search of his wife.

Throughout the story, the author attempts to define varying interpretations of love and life through different characters. Once you are invested in the book, you would realize that the events and related paraphrasing are sort of repetitive.

However, Coelho’s brilliant writing style and the plethora of quote-worthy sentences give the readers adequate motivation to finish the tale.

In a nutshell, The Zahir is definitely not Coelho’s best work. However, the eloquently narrated exploration of the unconventional nature of relationships and elusive representations of love is good enough to give many of his fans the level of satisfaction they expected from it.

Book Details

Title: The Zahir
Format: Paperback
Author: Paulo Coelho
Language : English
Publisher : HarperOne
ISBN: 0060825219

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