Stories & Reflections
Posted by Smitha Abraham in E-Books India
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is the proud recipient of many international awards and the author of works like The Alchemist, The Devil and Miss Prym, 11 Minutes, and The Zahir. His most famous novel The Alchemist has sold 165 million copies globally and has been translated into 80 languages. Such is the power his writing holds! Not many would know that he follows an uncommon planning ritual for his writing. He initiates his writing process for a new book only after he has found a white feather in the January of an odd year. Now that is something, right?
The novel By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept is a tale of forgiveness and love. Pilar and her old friend and lover rediscover each other and realize that God is actually love or the quintessential force. Coelho seems to tell readers that when people are single, they are on their path. When they find a soul mate or a companion, then they need to decide how to merge their paths and find a common ground. Love triumphs in the novel. Coelho describes love as something that is “always new… It can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere.” He seems to equate love to a positive journey. In the novel, the characters learn that “the moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us.” This supports the theme that love is something that we need to seek and our quest through experiences brings us closer to what we yearn for.
Another theme that Coelho explores in his writing is the battle between good and evil. Writers can take a leaf out of this and perhaps incorporate the theme in their writing. In The Devil and Miss Prym, Coelho depicts the temptation of evil that a small community has to deal with. The character Chantal Prym manages to overcome her evil tendencies and lets the good in her to triumph. There is a similar situation in his novel By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept also, where the character Pilar must relieve herself from the influence of “the Other” or temptation and evil. All this demonstrates Coelho’s faith in humanity’s triumph over evil.
Coelho’s writings have a vein of reference to the Supreme Power, Allah, God and other divine names. In The Alchemist, there is a frequent reference to the universe; it influences everybody’s journey and works in tandem with them. In The Devil and Miss Prym, the priest plays a great role and so do saints in the lives of the villagers.
The technique of foreshadowing is often used by Coelho. Readers get to know that the characters are going to do something that helps them in their future. His characters often embark on a journey and then they evolve stronger and live a more fruitful life.
He also uses the technique of magic realism in his writings. Magic realism is a narrative technique in which the realistic and fantastic elements seamlessly blend. In The Alchemist, Santiago, a common shepherd, sets off on a journey to pursue his “Personal Legend.” The first few pages sound realistic, and then the narrative slowly progresses to the realm of fantasy.