Zahir, means, that which is incapable of being unnoticed. The story seems to be similar to the author Paulo Coelho’s life. It is also said that this book in actual sense is a semi-autobiography work.
I like the way Paulo tells a story and in between engages the reader with various serious issues and aspects that require one to think. With his book Eleven Minutes, he tries to explain true love and physical love. He discusses and gives convincing answers on the topics that he chooses to discuss. That’s the very reason I think why he is such a renowned author.
Zahir is one such novel that talks in length about obsession, finding one’s Zahir. It is not about the story that has to be talked about but about the journey that the protagonist takes for finding his lost love, wife. The protagonist of the novel is a famous writer who heals people with his books and thoughts but unfortunately fails to understand his own life. When his wife, a war correspondent, suddenly seems missing, he follows her words and path to know her and more importantly know himself. Though at first he doesn’t seems to be bothered about her absence he gradually and sub consciously starts thinking about her and finally can’t imagine anything without her. This state is what the author calls as – Zahir.
Though there is nothing much to discuss about the way he finds his wife and love, there are certain interesting aspects that the author discusses which makes this book truly worth reading. Like the ones below:
“ Marie, Let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, While the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?”
‘That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face ofcourse.’
‘No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks llike him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.’
Have a look at the way he relates this:
I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely, clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and …thinking that they were worse than they were. Please don’t let that happen to you.’
Another interesting aspect that I loved: ( I beg to differ from author’s perception towards marriage though!)
…..I learned that the distance between railway tracks is always 143.5 cm. Why is this absurd measurement?……It was Romans..who decided to make their roads that width. And why. Because their war chariots were pulled by two horses and when placed side by side…took up 143.5 cm….and it stayed as it is…But what has all this to do with marriage?
…when two people get married….move along side by side like two tracks, keeping always that same distance apart… Your purpose is to allow your train bearing the survival of the species to headoff into the future: your children….
I absolutely love his books.