Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eleven Minutes

Book title: Eleven Minutes
Author: Paulo Coelho

Publ: Harper Torch
ISBN: 0-06-072675-X

In 2002, the author Paulo Coelho met an old gentleman in his seventies with his wife and granddaughter at the Grotto in Lourdes, in France. The man embraced him and told about the importance of his books in his life. They made him dream. The words frightened the author because he knew that his upcoming novel Eleven Minutes dealt with a subject that was harsh, difficult, shocking. But however, Coelho has dedicated this novel Eleven Minutes to that old gentleman, Maurice Gravelines with these words:

"I have a duty to you, your wife and grand-daughter and to myself to talk about the things that concern me and not only about what everyone would like to hear. Some books make us dream, others bring us face to face with reality, but what matters most to the author is the honesty with which a book is written."

And now, after finishing reading this book, I'm convinced he has kept his word. He has indeed been totally honest in the process of writing this book.

He sets his protagonist Maria on the hard journey that ultimately helps her in discovering, and those among us who have not yet recognised recognise, the sacredness in what is known as 'sex' and to ponder on why it must always invariably be profane, taboo. This book is about desire, freedom, love, sex..

The author has littered (to my utmost delight:) ) all over the book with lines I would simply love to quote in as many places as possible. As one of my old for-a-short-while friends cum compulsive quote freak (like me :p) Bassem Sabry who used to write in Teenstuff says, quotations are nothing but our own views put in words by others in a far better and more beautiful way. Yeah, I am amazed how totally in tune I had been with the author throughout the book!

I don't think anyone can write a book as this in a subtler way. It's so fully pregnant with poetry. See how he starts the book:

"Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. 'Once upon a time' is how all the best children's stories begin and 'prostitute' is a word for adults. How can I
start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we
all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let's keep that beginning.

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria."

Courtesy: solskinn who made a bookring of this

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