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Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Veronika Decides to Die (1998)

by Paulo Coelho

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English (108)  Spanish (9)  Dutch (5)  French (4)  German (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Italian (2)  Polish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Review: Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho.

It could have been a depressing read but Paulo Coelho made the story entertaining. The book weights highly on Paulo Coelho own personal experience when he was institutionalized. Coelho’s description of the motivation behind the story is when he was younger in Brazil around 1960’s the emphases to artist was synonymous with homosexual, communist, drug addict, and low-life is similar to the same as USA’s views of the artist who drank and smoked with simplistic behavior, sometimes occasionally functional, at times completely unstable with society and the subtlety of influences that they had to face.

The story is about a young Slovenian woman, Veronika, who attempts suicide a few times, fails, and is institutionalized. While in the confines of the facility Veronika is told that by overdosing on pills she had damaged her heart and only has five days to live. She now has to come to grips with what it means to be dying.

Coelho writes about the effects of Veronika’s death sentence diagnosis and how she interacts with other patients. The first patient she interacts with is Zedka who is a depressive person who offers Veronika advice and insight. Than there is Maria, who withdrew from her family, friends and society because she was having severe panic attacks. Plus there is Eduardo, a schizophrenic, who befriends Veronika who is unsure if she wants a friend. Veronika still wants to die but decides she doesn’t want to hide out at the facility like the others who are free to defy rules without judgment and the feeling of being safe and secure…She is still confused about what it means to die…! ( )
  Juan-banjo | Nov 12, 2018 |
Bedre enn Alkymisten! Men fortsatt en litt merkelig historie for min del. ( )
  henriette89 | Apr 21, 2018 |
Bedre enn Alkymisten! Men fortsatt en litt merkelig historie for min del. ( )
  henriette89 | Apr 21, 2018 |
(4) I have never read this author, nor his famous 'The Alchemist,' not sure why - but I found this in a used book store and gave it a try. It reminds me in many ways of a simplified Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I think I would have loved this slim novel in my 20's - so full disclosure. A young girl commits suicide at the opening of the book based on the endless banality of her life. She winds up in a mental hospital; alive - but only just. She is told by the hospital's director that she likely only has days to live as her heart was irreversibly damaged by her drug overdose. The novel is mostly about her interactions with the other inmates and how witnessing Veronika's tragic story unfolding causes them to re-examine their own reasons for being long-term inmates of the mental hospital.

The writing is very matter-of-fact without much adornment. This gives the atmosphere of a fable which I believe characterizes this author's writing from what I have heard. One of the concepts that emerges (for me at least) is that of the mental hospital as a sanitarium. A place of rest where one does not have to deal with the pressures and expectations of the outside world and the people in it - including people who love you whose approval we feel is so crucial to our lives. How much of mental illness is really an unconscious choice to escape a reality we feel is untenable and inescapable as opposed to an organic brain disorder? Anyway, this is what the doctor in me got out of the novel -- the reader part of me was not as enamored.

The novel for me was overly simplistic and repetitive. It was a bit of a slog despite being short and easy to read. It was not engaging. And the thin line between fable and reality was walked a little to close in my opinion. The result was a sense of disconnection and inauthenticity - one can't really believe in what is transpiring in the book.

So just OK for me. I liked the 'moral' of the story - insightful, though maybe a bit obvious: You have to live a life of purpose and passion. But the actual execution of the story was not particularly entertaining. My favorite part was trying to remember the 5 countries that Yugoslavia broke into. . . ( )
  jhowell | Jan 15, 2018 |
I loved this book. The mental health system, psychotropic drugs and emotional difficulties are subjects I am well acquainted with, so I felt at easy reading it as I was not swimming in unchartered waters.

I was deciding whether to rate it 4 or 5 stars but once I read the last 4 pages, I knew right away it was a 5 star book for me, throughout the entire book, I never saw the end coming, but was awfully glad it ended as it did. ( )
  REINADECOPIAYPEGA | Jan 11, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Veronica is a Slovenian young girl with a perfect life. Somehow, culture and social pressure stops her from being herself to find her soul and freedom. She tries to commit suicide in her apartment. Before the drugs she has taken works, she reads a French magazine where there’s a reader question, asking where Slovenia is. She intends to write back to the magazine correspondent, then she collapse.

In Vilette, Veronica finds herself after and is told that she has only one week left to live. Vilette is an asylum. She is considered with mental problems since other people think her suicide trial is not normal, as most people want to live instead of to die. In that asylum, she meets many people who are actually not crazy, only suffering from panic attack, mental depression and not far from normal. Considered as insane, Veronica can find the freedom of being herself, without being criticized by social and culture attached to her since she was young.

The head of psychiatry in Vilette ‘shocks’ Veronica with her rest-one-week life. She encounters the half-life with all the psychiatric treatment she got there. Through the life in the asylum, and her new-found love to an adorable schizophrenic young man, Veronica is able to see the value of her life.

My review: It’s a very great awakening for us to see the real normality in this world. Written very well and touching. Your eyes will be opened to value your life and show you what it takes and what it should to be yourself.

The characters are amazingly described. They represent our characters in the real world. Where we are all imperfect, and sometimes, confined with social watch and cultural hypocrisy.

Many history and political inputs, as well as philosophy that enrich your reading mind. Truly a genius psychological story that breaks through any cultural barriers!

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paulo Coelhoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Costa, Margaret JullTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents ... and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:19
For S.T. de L., who began to help me without my realising it
First words
On November 11, 1997, Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had - at last! - arrived.
Half shy, half extrovert, he had the desire to be an "artist," something that everyone in the family considered a perfect recipe for ending up a social outcast and dying in poverty.
In a world where everyone struggles to survive whatever the cost, how could one judge those people who decide to die?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Veronika är ung och vacker, har vänner och beundrare att gå ut med, fast jobb och en familj som tycker om henne, men det är ändå något som fattas i hennes liv. Morgonen den 11 november 1997 bestämmer hon sig därför för att dö. Hon tar en överdos sömntabletter bara för att lite senare vakna upp på närmaste sjukhus. Där berättar man för henne att även om hon lever, så är hennes hjärta skadat och hon har bara några få dagar kvar att leva…

Berättelsen följer Veronika genom dessa intensiva dagar medan hennes erfarenheter får henne att stilla undra vad galenskap egentligen är. Hon inser nämligen att varje ögonblick vi lever är resultatet av ett medvetet val mellan liv och död.

Romanen tar sig an kanske det svåraste ämnet av alla, döden, men Coelho lyckas trots detta genomsyra texten med värme, optimism och livsvilja.

Rättigheterna till boken är sålda till 40 olika länder och mer än 5 miljoner exemplar har sålts världen över. Med boken medverkade Coelho bland annat till att få igenom en Brasiliansk lag mot tvångsintagning på mentalsjukhus.

"Jag tycker mycket om Paulo Coelhos roman Veronika bestämmer sig för att dö. Den har verkligen berört mig djupt."
UMBERTO ECO, författare

"…den mest fantastiska bok jag någonsin läst."
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061124265, Paperback)

When Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) was a young man, his parents had him committed to mental hospitals three times because he wanted to be an artist--an unacceptable profession in Brazil at the time. During his numerous forced incarcerations he vowed to write some day about his experiences and the injustices of involuntary commitment. In this fable-like novel, Coelho makes good on his promise, with the creation of a fictional character named Veronika who decides to kill herself when faced with all that is wrong with the world and how powerless she feels to change anything. Although she survives her initial suicide attempt, she is committed to a mental hospital where she begins to wrestle with the meaning of mental illness and whether forced drugging should be inflicted on patients who don't fit into the narrow definition of "normal." The strength and tragedy of Veronika's fictional story was instrumental in passing new government regulations in Brazil that have made it more difficult to have a person involuntarily committed. Like any great storyteller, Coelho has used the realm of fiction to magically infiltrate and alter the realm of reality. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:46 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"Another of Coelho's spiritual journeys, this time by the 24-year-old protagonist who, after a failed suicide attempt, rediscovers in an insane asylum in Slovenia the preciousness and precariousness of life. Costa's translation is competent, but cannot save Coelho's novel from its by now familiar and conventionally inspirational tone and message"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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