“Aleph” tells the story of a man’s quest for peace with his past, which takes him on the Trans-Siberian Railway with a stranger, a young woman named Hilal. As the journey progresses, he discovers he may have more in common with Hilal than he first expects, and she may hold the key to his spiritual growth.
Coelho, who divides his time between Brazil and Switzerland, said he didn’t write the book while on the trip. In fact, he said he finds taking notes to be “totally useless” because he realizes his experiences are far richer than what he writes about them at the time.
“If I’m thinking about writing, I’ll be an observer and not the person who’s living the experience,” Coelho explained. “I was there 100%. The book was only ready in my mind in 2010.” As he wrote the book, he was reliving the experience and trying to capture the emotional state precisely in words.
“When you’re making love, you’re not there at the very beginning, you’re a little bit shy,” he said. “And then you’ll say, how am I going to perform? And then all of a sudden you are totally there. Your body and your soul. So, if it is only your body, it’s half of the pleasure, or less than that. So you’re totally there. Writing is like making love to computer.”
To read the full interview, please click here: “Paulo Coelho Compares Writing to Making Love”