11 April 2014

Aleph - Paulo Coelho

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I had never read a Paulo Coelho book before and I decided that 2014 was the year to address this deficiency in my reading list. I had wanted to read The Alchemist as, for some reason, I had heard of this book and recalled it being spoken of in quite a positive light. Alas, my local library did not have it in stock, so I went with Aleph.

From the outset, I felt like the book was falling short of my expectations. To be honest, it probably says more about my expectations than about the book. However, I got the feeling that I often get when I read books which have been translated into English - that there is a little something missing, a little something lost in that translation, that it is a stripped down form of the book, relieved of the richness of language it may have had in the author's original words. Or not. I'll never know. Unless I learn Portuguese.

I generally liked it. But I didn't get it. I understood the concepts. I enjoyed the spiritual ideas. But I just didn't believe in the pull the main characters had to one another. I had nothing invested in their interaction or relationship. My guess (and hope) is that translation is the reason for this. I may need to read another Paulo Coelho book to find out. Or maybe I should learn Portuguese (!)

Book:  Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I have given this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: A good book with interesting ideas, but not quite as profound as I had hoped or expected.


  1. Wow! A serious book and a proper discussion on it. You should join our book club. It might rub off on the rest of us....

  2. You must read The Alchemist Francesca! I understand what you mean about translation. If it's not well done it can be a total turn off for the book. I read Aleph and enjoyed it but that's maybe because I'm already under the charm of Paulo Coelho (I have read most of his books).


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