Wednesday, July 14, 2004

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept

This is the first Paulo Coelho book I read. I have heard so much about The Alchemist, I thought I would read whatever Coelho has written.

Unfortunately, this book is not that great. The story is simple, a girl gets a call from a child hood friend who is now in the seminary, to attend his lecture. She meets him and the bonding gets strengthened, then she comes to know that he has the ability to create miracles and cure people. But he is torn between his love for her and his responsibility towards fellow humans. By the time she decides to support him in his role, he gives up his ability to be with her. So she runs away from him and writes the story sitting in front of the river Piedra. Belief has it that anything thrown into the river Piedra turns into stone and she thinks she can cast away her sorrow.

It would have been better if the story ended there. However he comes back in search of her and promises to be with her and cure people too.

Coelho has a way with words and even his simple sentences are lyrical. But somehow the emotional bonding with characters necessary for a great story is missing in this. May be there is an allegory in the story that is beyond me. The way I understood is, it is the story of a man torn between his responsibility and his love. And it is definitely not a great story. Hope that The Alchemist is not a let down like this.

You wouldn't miss much if you skip this book


Anonymous said...


you can definitely give Alchemist a try. It was good, thanks to the fiction added to it. At the end of the day, even alchemist is a feel good-vitamin book.

Coelho's other books (veronica etc.. are far behind Alchemist.

Chenthil said...

Yes Anon. I read Alchemist, and found it inspiring for a day :-). I don't feel anything compelling in him now

Anonymous said...

i completely agree with you. this book was a complete waste of time, even after all the praise it recieved and continues to, i don't understand what is so great about this book. the alchemist was the same too. his stories are full of nothing. said...

I would definately have to say that I am a Coelho fan myself, but this book was sort of a let down. The story was a little simple, but I would encourage you read all the books in his collection.