Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The search for the Zahir

The idea of the Zahir comes from Islamic tradition and is thought to havearisen at some point in the 18th Century. Zahir, in arabic, meams visible, present, incapable of going unnoticed. it is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with tthem or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. this can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness.
Faubourg Saint-Peres,
Encyclopedia of the Fantastic (1953)

When I started reading this book, it was more because I didn’t have anything to read and whatever books I had I didn’t feel like reading them.
I was unable to complete this book due to I couldn’t get time been reading since two months in bits and pieces.
This the third book of Paulo Coelho which I completed after Eleven minutes and the alchemist. There is always a message and a philosophical angle in his books. The jacket of the book has a picture of a lady, with a dead and orangish background and I used to wonder why that picture? And what’s its relevance? I could connect that image to the story only in last few pages of The Zahir…
The story of zahir is about a famous author who goes in search of his wife who goes missing while reporting from the war zone.
It’s also a story of re-discovering himself and his love for his wife and the mistakes he committed while he was high on his success.
The Zahir has few important characters, which makes reading easier as their names are also easier to remember.
The Author’s name in the novel hasn’t been disclosed anywhere. His wife’s names Esther and Mikhail, one who’s a link between the author and his wife. There’s author’s girlfriend (Marie).
The author search ends somewhere in a remote steep village in Kazakhstan, Asia, bordering Russia, where his wife is waiting for him to come and find her.
There’s beautiful narration of story of Ulysses and Penelope, (I remember I read about adventures of Ulysses in school) and it’s been compared to the author’s search for Esther.
Now, I’m taking a break for a week before I start reading another novel. The next book will be Memories of Geisha.

ABOUT the book.
Author : Paulo Coelho
ISBN : 8172236298
Edition / Publisher : 2005, Paperback, Harper Collins
Pages : 342

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