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Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho
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Veronika Decides To Die (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Paulo Coelho

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,6641531,226 (3.6)175
"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)
Member:petercasier
Title:Veronika Decides To Die
Authors:Paulo Coelho
Info:Ted Smart (1999), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (1998)

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» See also 175 mentions

English (111)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  Portuguese (Portugal) (5)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Wow..... The prose in this book! So beautiful & lyrical, & the ending, the ending! I thought the big 'm' scene was a bit vulgar & unnecessary I won't give any spoilers but if you've read the book you know which scene I'm talking about. I'm willing to overlook it though because of the wonderful prose & the fact that this book has so many quotables in it! 🌟🌟🌟 Taking two stars off for the yuck scene but otherwise it's beautiful 😊📚💖
  leah152 | Oct 23, 2021 |
I finally finished this. It was a pretty easy read, and yet it will make you think about the meaning of madness and sanity. In Spanish, we have the saying, "De artista y de loco, todos tenemos un poco. ("Of artist and mad, we all have a little bit.")

I won't give away the ending, but I will say I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it seemed a bit contrived. On the other, it could be seen as a good thing. Yet a part of me wondered what if the ending would have been allowed to take a more natural course. This was the reason I only gave the book four stars instead of five, for the novel overall is really good. I think readers have to just read it and decide. The best part of the book is the premise: what if your time was counted? What would you think about? What decisions would you make? The book made me think and ask questions about myself and steps I have taken in my life, and I think that is a good thing when a book does that. In the end, I think a little madness is a very good thing, and I do my best to embrace mine.

On a final note, I think people who have thought about suicide (or attempted it) may identify with Veronika and with the book. Something to consider.

By the way, I always read Coehlo in Spanish (again, my bias that something translated from Portuguese to Spanish will likely be better), but his works are widely translated, so go get a hold of his works in whatever language works for you. I still The Alchemist is his best, but this one is very good too. ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
Die Geschichte einer unglücklichen jungen Frau, die sterben will und erst angesichts des Todes entdeckt, wie schön das Leben sein kann, wenn man darum kämpft und etwas riskiert. Ein wunderbares Buch über die Prise "Verrücktheit", die es braucht, um den eigenen Lebenstraum Wirklichkeit werden zu lassen, und eine große Liebeserklärung an das Glück in jedem von uns.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
Not to get controversial at the outset, but most books have flaws. Some books are too long, some books have been poorly edited, some books are boring, some books are written by Judy Collins, etc. There is a distinction to be made, though, between a book that has flaws and a truly reprehensible work. Veronika Decides to Die is without a doubt the latter.

The writing is ass. Every page has something that feels like it was run through google translate (it genuinely might have been, so I guess it might not be Coelho's fault?) To her surprise, though, the first line of text shook her out of her natural passivity (the tranquilizers had not yet dissolved in her stomach, but Veronika was by nature passive)... IS SHE NATURALLY PASSIVE?? I CAN'T TELL!!

Coelho makes himself a character in the novel solely to let you know that the book is loosely based on experiences he had, which would have been a far cooler thing to just fucking say somewhere else other than as a fake guy in your own fucking book. Somehow we know A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was about James Joyce without James Joyce having to create a character named James Joyce who says in Chapter 2, "Hey guys! This shit's about me!" Besides hubris, the only reason for Coelho to put himself in the book was if he thought he'd be dead by the time it came out, which means he thought he was going to kill himself, which THEN means he didn't learn the lesson he's trying to teach through the book in the first place.

What lesson is that, pray tell? Well, for starters, don't kill yourself, which is a good baseline message. If you're reading this, don't kill yourself. Beyond that, any ideas that can be taken from the book are either anodyne platitudes or absurd misunderstandings of what mental illness is.

Let's focus on the latter. The majority of the novel is set in a mental hospital with weirdly antiquated treatments, and in Coelho's eyes, not a single one of the POV characters really needs to be there. For example Veronika's first friend at the mental hospital, a lady named Zedka, is depressed, but that's not really addressed. What matters is that she's a fucking astral traveller, which is as ridiculous as it sounds and also doesn't end up mattering in the book at all. Coelho might as well have written that Zedka has teeth made out of jelly beans and boobs full of red cream soda. Looking back, I'm finding it more and more incredible how useless every digression in this book turns out to be. None of them are interesting, and none of them move the story in any direction.

In fairness to Coelho, he really kind of screwed himself with the premise of the book. A girl tries to kill herself but doesn't die, only to then be told that she did enough damage to herself that she'll die soon. What could possibly happen here? Either she decides she was right to kill herself and then dies, she decides she was wrong to kill herself and then dies, or some bullshit happens and she doesn't die. Those are very narrow plots within which he could have worked, and they all kind of suck anyway, so none of it's worth it.

If there was one cliché that Coelho most clearly wanted to amplify, it was "Live like you've got nothing to lose!" Once Veronika was told that she was about to die, ergo having nothing to lose, she abandoned all false pretenses and lived the way she wanted to, which was to... whack off in front of a mute schizophrenic??? How rewarding!

The message is a pretty bad one within the context of the book, seeing as Veronika is a shitty doofus, but even in general, what a stupid way to live life. We all have something to lose, and understanding the value of whatever that 'something' may be and being humble enough to place it above one's own interests is part of being a good person. Anyone with children (or other people that depend on them) that chooses to live like they've got nothing to lose is a real asshole.

Some of the more air-headed parts of the book reminded me of another piece of trash, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but then I remembered that for as vapid and useless as it was, at least JLS wasn't wrong. At least the magical seagull book didn't paint psychiatric care in a dubious light, trivialize schizophrenia, or have a character jill off in front of a near stranger in order to free herself of her inhibitions. Now that I think about it, though, maybe that book could have used some seagull masturbation. It couldn't be any worse than Slovenian masturbation. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
Read as book 2 of The Trilogy "And On The Seventh Day" ( )
  ElizabethCromb | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Coelho, Pauloprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Costa, Margaret JullTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents ... and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:19
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (1)

"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.

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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."
SINÉAD O'CONNOR, musiker
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