After a photo-blog about Holi; the festival of colors, I am here with a review of my favorite author Paulo Coelho’s book Eleven Minutes. This is the first time in my life that I am writing a review. Hope you enjoy! Please let me know how you felt.
A little about Paulo Coelho and his fame
Paulo Coelho was born on August 24, 1947, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When Coelho was 38 years old, he had a spiritual awakening in Spain and wrote about it in his first book, The Pilgrimage. It was his second book, The Alchemist, which sold 35 million copies and is the most translated book in the world by a living author. I believe, the reason why Paulo Coelho is so popular author is because his books expand readers’ perspective woven with the simple words. His philosophical, mystical fiction writing depicts the spiritual journey of humanity through the viewpoint of a character and the readers can easily connect to what we write. He has also worked as a director, theater actor, songwriter and journalist.
Paulo Coelho and Eleven Minutes
Recently I read a book Eleven Minutes written by Paulo Coelho in 2003. After reading his other bestselling books such as The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Zahir and Brida, I was so excited right when I got Eleven Minutes in my hand. Like any other Paulo Coelho writings, this book captivated my attention right when I got this book in my hand. The book travels around three important aspects of life; love, sex, and desire. Through this book, Paulo Coelho takes us into the spiritual depth with the emotional aspect of sexual experiences. It teaches what is love and what is meant to be loved. The book may talk about sex or physical attraction, but if you put on the right glasses, you’ll find something real in this story. Something we could all connect with. The book sees something beyond the physical world, the bond that connects two souls, love.
Coelho talks about the subjects of interest of the larger mass of people i.e. sex, pain and suffering, pleasure, attraction, identity; the mystery of life. He stresses that it’s more than just finding true love and sex; rather it’s more of exploring and understanding ourselves. Through Maria’s diaries after each happening, Paulo Coelho comes to a certain life conclusion no matter how raw or immature they might sound. And unsurprisingly, in the end, he is able to connect all those conclusions with the meaning of life.
Eleven Minutes; Summary
Maria, a young girl from a village of Brazil, who is left heartbroken in her first encounter, believes that true love doesn’t exist. She then travels to Switzerland seeking to uplift her fortune as well as that of her family’s. She works for a nightclub but is soon dissatisfied and quits after a heated discussion with her manager. She then tries to become a model but doesn’t succeed. Left option-less, Maria then agrees to spend a night with an Arab man for 1000 francs and that’s how her journey to being a prostitute kick starts.
Because of her progressive nature, she quickly becomes successful in her profession which results in her colleagues envying her. As time passes, Maria grooms herself and relaxes the minds as well as the souls of her clients by listening/talking to their personal problems.
The work of sex and money halts when she meets a young successful Swiss painter Ralf. Ralf says that he sees her “inner light” and in turn, Maria falls in love with him. In her encounter with Ralf, she discovers what true love is. Paulo Coelho describes true love as a sense of being for someone without the feeling of possession. And Maria learns that one can be in total freedom when s/he is in true love, also about souls engagement in true sex and orgasmic states.
Eleven Minutes; Reflection and Review
Eleven minutes!!! The world revolved around something that only took eleven minutes. And because of those eleven minutes in any one twenty-four-hour day (assuming that they all made love to their wives every day, which is patently absurd and a complete lie) they got married, supported a family, put up with screaming kids, thought up ridiculous excuses to justify getting home late, ogled dozens, if not hundreds of other women with whom they would like to go for a walk around Lake Geneva, bought expensive clothes for themselves and even more expensive clothes for their wives, paid prostitutes to try to give them what they were missing, and thus sustained a vast industry of cosmetics, diet foods, exercise, pornography and power, and yet when they got together with other men, contrary to popular belief, they never talked about women. They talked about jobs, money, and sport.
Further reading: 10 Best books to read for beginners; My recommendation!
Something was very wrong with civilization, and it wasn’t the destruction of the Amazon rainforest or the ozone layer, the death of the panda, cigarettes, carcinogenic foodstuffs or prison conditions, as the newspapers would have it. It was precisely the thing she was working with: sex.
Important Quotes from Eleven Minutes
- “Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?” The quotation describes her inner conflict whether or not to step into new decisions in her life.
- “When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.”
- “Passion makes a person stop eating, sleeping, working, feeling at peace. A lot of people are frightened because, when it appears, it demolishes all the old things it finds in its path. No one wants their life thrown into chaos. That is why a lot of people keep that threat under control and is somehow capable of sustaining a house or a structure that is already rotten. They are the engineers of the superseded. Other people think exactly the opposite: they surrender themselves without a second thought, hoping to find in passion the solutions to all their problems. They make the other person responsible for their happiness and blame them for their possible unhappiness. They are either euphoric because something marvelous has happened or depressed because something unexpected has just ruined everything. Keeping passion at bay or surrendering blindly to it – which of these two attitudes is the least destructive? I don’t know.”
- “When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side. And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.”
- “I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”
- “No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it”
- “Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them.”
- “I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.” Another example of inner conflict and her indecisiveness.
- “Love is not to be found in someone else, but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person. The universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our feelings with.”
- “I’m not a body with a soul; I’m a soul that has a visible part called the body.”
- “In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.”
- A sarcastic comment on humanity at present; “Considering the way the world is, one happy day is almost a miracle.”
- Motivational; “You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.”
- When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
- What is real always finds a way of revealing itself.
- I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.
- If I must be faithful to someone or something, then I have, first of all, to be faithful to myself. I believe this is the most important lesson among all.
When someone asks me the learning from Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes, one thing that I would take away would be; we all are on a spiritual journey. The difference is in the paths we all pursue. And we should be sensitive enough before judging others’ lives. What an inspiration. I would highly recommend the book lovers to go through it once if you haven’t yet. Happy reading! Paulo Coelho, truly excited to read Hippie… 🙂