I was home sick today, so it was a good thing I had just bought an audio book. More on that later.
Paolo Coelho is the author of The Alchemist, a book that has been on my shelf for over a year. The Zahir was a six hour audio commitment, which seemed good for a trial run. The summary made it out to be a mystery – guy’s wife disappears one day. He is held by the police for the crime (for a few hours). Two years go by and she meets her presumed-lover at a book-signing. What happens next.
But it is really a spiritual/philosophical tale. What is the nature of love and what does it mean to be alive and what makes us happy or unhappy. There were several interesting points and theories, which is not to say that I bought them all. For example:
All unhappiness is created when the people we love don’t love us back (or enough, or in the right way).
Well, right now I am unhappy because I am sick. And there are people far more sick than I am in this world. Which reminds me that other people are starving and living in war zones and blahblahblah.
I have obviously missed the larger spiritual point.
There was a moment when the narrator remembers his wife saying that the words, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow,” are killing her. Apparently he said that regularly when they got into it over something. That struck a nerve.
According to Wikipedia, Zahir means, “the obvious”, but the narrator describes it more as a Presence. That which filled his life in a thousand ways, but was a sort of elephant in the room once she was gone.
Coehlo likes his symbolism, and you knida just have to follow him. And there was less of a climax and more of a fading out toward the end. But that might have just been me.