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The Zahir: A Novel of Love, Longing and…
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The Zahir: A Novel of Love, Longing and Obsession (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Paulo Coelho

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3,037491,868 (3.34)14
Member:rightantler
Title:The Zahir: A Novel of Love, Longing and Obsession
Authors:Paulo Coelho
Info:HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2005), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Stewart's Read
Rating:
Tags:Y05, philosophy, fiction

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The Zahir by Paulo Coelho (2005)

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» See also 14 mentions

English (38)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Estonian (1)  English (1)  English (49)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Some time ago, I came across this post in the Elephant Journal. Judging from what Tammy Stone wrote, the book was apparently very good and 'woke her up'. I had been meaning to read Paulo Coelho's works for the longest time as well, but I didn't know which book to start on. And since I had been going through some stuff when I came across that article, I decided that that was the first Paulo Coelho book that I was going to read.
Ater asking opinions from friends about the book, they were a bit apprehensive. One of my friends suggested that it may not be everyone's cup of tea, and that I should consider buying a pre-loved version. I did, and then I came on Goodreads to read other people's review and found that the majority hadn't liked it. Good thing I bought a pre-loved one instead then.
I thought it was okay though. It's not exactly the most interesting of books I've read, but it did come with a few good lessons. It was quite an easy read; and I don't mean that as in it was interesting, rather, I couldn't seem to put it down when I read it. I was glad to finish it though.
The ending, I felt, was not too well closed. Also, it could probably be due to personal beliefs and experiences, but I really didn't like the idea that both the writer and Esther were married, but were okay with sleeping around with other people. But I guess, to each their own eh?
There were, I think, also some situations left unanswered. Or maybe Paulo intended it to be open-ended. But I can say this though: I don't think I'd pick up another book of Paulo's. I don't mean that in a bad way or an offense; just that perhaps his books aren't really my cup of tea after all. ( )
  KrystleLow | Oct 27, 2016 |
To say that “The Zahir” is my least favorite Paulo Coelho book is an understatement. In fact, I only finished this book because I am very stubborn and because I was waiting for that signature Coelho payoff at the end. The payoff never came.

“The Zahir” is the story of a world famous author who is abandoned by his wife because their marriage has turned monotonous, their love has changed, and they have become different people. After writing and selling millions of copies of a book about his experience as the abandoned husband, the author is contacted by a young man who claims to know where the author’s wife is hiding. The author and the young man become friends…followed by literary allusions, historical asides, and philosophical musings. The author and the young man embark on a trip to find the Zahir (that which is external and surface-level in Islam, as well as the name the author uses to describe his wife). Like in many of his other books (The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage), the reader embarks on a pilgrimage with the author. This time, however, I didn’t much enjoy the trip. In truth, my favorite part of the book was the part told from the point-of-view of Mikhail, the young man from Kazakhstan who leads the author on a journey through Paris, through his own life, and eventually to the enigmatic wife.

This book is the reason I sometimes need a break from Paulo Coelho. ( )
  CarinaRodrigues | Mar 22, 2016 |
According to the author, “In Arabic zahir means ‘visible; present; incapable of going unnoticed.’ It can refer to an object or a person, and that object or person gradually takes over our every thought until we are unable to think of anything else. This could be considered a state of holiness or a state of madness.” In the novel, our narrator is an author whose wife disappears unexpectedly. She becomes his Zahir, and this “novel of obsession” details his journey (both spiritual and physical) to find her. Like many of Coelho’s other novels, it is a story of love, spirituality, redemption, and growth, among other things.

I like this book, although I like all of Coelho’s other books. This one is fairly similar to his other books; however, it’s different enough that I get something new from it. I generally have more questions than answers by the time I finish reading him, but I like books that make me think. I also really liked the truly international flavor of this book. Coelho takes us through France, Kazakhstan, Croatia, and Brazil, along with reminiscences from the United States, Afghanistan, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, North Africa, and probably others that I’ve forgotten. Overall, it wasn’t quite as good as some of his others, but it was very good. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Excellent! Coelho is one of my favorite authors, and The Zahir is wonderfully thought provoking as regards relationships between men and women. The analogy using the railroad tracks to describe the relationship between spouses is very enlightening. Highly recommend! ( )
  junebedell | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paulo Coelhoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Costa, Margaret JullTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janssen, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
[four epigraphs] "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to you. Amen".

"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose
one of them doth not leave the ninety and nine in the
wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Luke 15:4".

"ITHACA [poem]
Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933)
translated by Rae Dalven".

"According to the writer Jorge Luis Borges, the idea of the Zahir comes from Islamic tradition [...]
Faubourg Saint-Pères
Encyclopedia of the Fantastic (1953)".
Dedication
[...] This book is dedicated to you, Christina, my wife.
First words
"Her name is Esther; she is a war correspondent who has just returned from Iraq because of the imminent invasion of that country; she is thirty years old, married, without children."
Quotations
Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose—and to commit myself to—what is best for me.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The narrator of The Zahir is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who has disappeared along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover.

Was Esther kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply escape a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator doesn't have any answers, but he has plenty of questions of his own. Then one day Mikhail finds the narrator and promises to reunite him with his wife. In his attempt to recapture a lost love, the narrator discovers something unexpected about himself.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060832819, Paperback)

The narrator of The Zahir is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who has disappeared along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover.

Was Esther kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply escape a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator doesn't have any answers, but he has plenty of questions of his own. Then one day Mikhail finds the narrator and promises to reunite him with his wife. In his attempt to recapture a lost love, the narrator discovers something unexpected about himself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:07 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Set in Paris and in the enchanting landscape of central Asia, this new novel by the author of the international bestsellers The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes follows the journey of a man obsessed with finding the wife who left him without an explanation. The narrator of The Zahir is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges that money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who, despite her professional success and freedom from the conventional constraints of marriage, is facing an existential crisis. When she disappears along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover, the authorities question the narrator. Was Esther kidnapped, killed, or did she simply abandon a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator doesn't have any answers but he has plenty of questions of his own. Then one day Mikhail, the man with whom Esther was last seen, finds the narrator and promises to take him to his wife. In his attempt to recapture a love lost, the narrator discovers something unexpected about himself.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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