Book reviews

The Zahir


So, this is Paulo Coelho’s first book I got hold of. Have heard of The Alchemist but haven’t got the chance to read it yet. People say, the Zahir begins from where The Alchemist ends, but no, you do not need to read it before you start this one.

The Zahir is the story of the unnamed narrator, who is devastated because his wife Esther leaves him without saying a word, and he has no idea where to look for her.

Our narrator is a novelist and he thinks he is leading a beautiful life, a fabulous career as a novelist and a beautiful marriage. Of course, there is nothing more to ask for and he is comfortable in the pattern of life. He thinks his wife is murdered or maybe kidnapped, as she is a war correspondent. Or probably, she has eloped with Mikhail, the one she constantly talks about.

Thus begins his search in the unknown. Esther always talked about more to life than just having a career and being married. About destiny. The narrator meets Mikhail who agrees to lead him to Esther. But he knows he has to find himself in order to get to Esther.

What is the Zahir? In Arabic, it means obsession! All of us are so used to our patterned life that anything above or beyond that is change, which we all dread. We tend to reach a point and say – “That’s it! I can’t do any better”. How often do we push that limit?

Personally, I did get a few answers as I read through the book. Not everybody would be able to relate to it and could find it boring too. I would rate the book a 4/5. And if I have read correctly, it is supposed to be Paulo Coelho’s real story.

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