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And Veronica Decides to Die Paperback – 30 Sep 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd (30 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0732267633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0732267636
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947. He has become one of the most widely read and loved authors in the world. Especially renowned for The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, he has sold more than 100 million books worldwide and his work has been translated into 67 languages. The recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France's Legion d'Honneur, Paulo Coelho was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002. He writes a weekly column syndicated throughout the world.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"On 11 November 1997, Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had--at last!--arrived": so begins Paulo Coelho's extraordinary new novel, Veronika Decides to Die. Renowned for the international success of The Alchemist, Coelho has secured his reputation as an outstanding storyteller and a key figure in world literature (his work has been translated into over 40 languages). Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, Veronika Decides to Die is a compelling story of a woman's struggle with and against life, told with Coelho's wit, subtlety and economy. On the track of whatever it is that makes life worth living, Coelho plots Veronika's fate with infinite care, weaving the mystery of her decision to take her own life into the themes of national identity--Veronika is a citizen of Slovenia, "that strange country that no one seemed quite able to place"--and madness.

Veronika does not die; instead, she wakes up in Villette--the "famous and much-feared lunatic asylum"--only to be told that, having damaged her heart irreparably, she has just a few days to live. What she faces now is a waiting game and the strange world of Villette: the rules and regulations which govern the lives of its inmates and the doctors who treat them. Coelho's question may be a familiar one: crudely, who, or what, is mad? But his fiction is a remarkable, sometimes chilling, response to it. "Everyone has an unusual story to tell" is the starting-point of the new treatment initiated at Villette by the enigmatic Dr Igor; it's also the insight from which this book takes off to explore the impact of a "slow, irreparable death" on a young woman and the mad men and women around her. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic but his message is what counts… he gives me hope and puts a smile on my face’
DAILY EXPRESS

‘His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people’
THE TIMES

‘One of the few to deserve the term “Publishing Phenomenon”’
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By finalguy on 23 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Veronika Decides to Die' is a strange book in that it's intention isn't really to tell a story, but to tell you a philosophy. Yes there are characters and even mild plot points but ultimately the author is more interested in you understanding the meaning behind the characters and his belief of the freedom contained in 'madness'.

It's an interesting book, but I did find myself wanting it to be more plot driven. The writing however, is beautiful, probably some of the best prose I've ever read, often feeling like a poem or the retelling of some dream. Everything flows. Yet at the same time, I'm not sure I can really recommend it to anyone as it is not a traditional story, and certainly wasn't what I was expecting. It is a short read however, and it does make you think (no matter how preachy the author is about the way he thinks his readers should see the world).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in Spanish. I am not found of "The Alchemist"(everybody loves this book, but for me it was just a fairy tale), but I decided to give a second try to Paulo Coelho. Veronika is much more real, without this spiritual non-sense, showing to all of us that we are not made in an assembly line, but as a unique spark of God.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jan. 2000
Format: Hardcover
As it changed mine. This book is a miracle. Coelho speaks about life and death, about love and hate, about madness and sanity ... and I felt like he was talking about me, as if he knew what is in my mind and in my soul. Maybe it is a great book or maybe I was just ready to hear his words and be influenced by them. I don't really know, and it doesn't matter. This book came to me at a crossroad in my life and changed the direction I took. I really believe it changed my future, and I am deeply grateful to Mr.Coelho. I hope some day he will visit my country and I will be able to thank him in person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JRH on 27 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not quite sure how I stumbled across this book but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I'm really pleased I bought it. I found it really intriguing, especially towards the end; I just couldn't stop reading as I desperately wanted to know what happened to Veronika. Definitely worth a read. Made me question a lot about my own life too whilst reading it. Would really recommend this book.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Absolutely inspirational. Veronika has spent her life shielding herself from anything that might hurt her, but because she's never felt anything extreme she feels her life is dull and uninteresting. Makes you realise that you have to go through the depths to reach the highs, and that's what makes life exciting and interesting.
I read this after a fairly painful break-up and it helped me realise that even though what I was going through was hard, I'd at least never have a 'what if' feeling about that particular person, and that I'll look back on these experiences in future and be glad I've lived life to the full.
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By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written and unconventional, despite it's rather gloomy sounding title, 'Veronika Decides to Die', is a truly upbeat and life affirming book. It manages to be deep and philosophical without being dull, taking on serious topics about the nature of humanity whilst remaining completely readable and grounded in everyday experiences which we can all relate to.

Coelho writes economically, focussing strongly on just a few characters and doing justice to each. It is refreshingly short, with no words going to waste. Coelho knows what he wants to say and how to say it without feeling the need to 'pad out' his book with unneccessary subplots. It's an attribute some other writers could do with paying attention to.

Anyone who has experienced mental illness will relate to many of the themes in the book, but even those who haven't are sure to find themselves nodding in agreement with the insightful comments about human nature in general. It is worth noting, however, that none of the 'mad' people in the story seem to suffer from severe forms of depression/schizophrenia and that some people with experience of the true horror of these illnesses may find the 'cure' for mental patients described in the book rather trite.

That aside, it is an uplifting tale and one that is highly readable. Like all Coelho's books, it makes you think about who you are and examine your own life in more detail than normal. I expect there will be some who dislike it - all books of this nature can cause strong feelings, which may not all be positive. But I found it deeply moving and I would recommend it to anyone.
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By Ted on 6 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
A loaded, layered story that has the power to bring peace to your soul; ironically, it's sure to be deemed shocking by many institutionalised members of society.

Freud's 'Theory of Sex' meets narrative; it delves deep into the human psyche and questions social 'norms'. A provocative piece of art whose multi-dimensional prose will move each reader subjectively. The themes may be uncomfortable for some but nonetheless poignantly real and refreshingly different.

Superficially it's simple; its strengths are not the plot, more the layering beneath. Don't expect the blatant twists you'd find in a standard novel; this isn't one. Coelho has skilfully weaved a plethora of treats into the book for the reader to discover, should they be open to them. It's a highly metaphorical tale that works its magic both retrospectively and momentarily. The characters are well realised and very, very human.

The writing style is quirky yet sincere. The keen translation seems to capture nuances very well. To note, the (2000 ed.) paperback has a pleasing size and feel.

This book is for everyone; whether they fully appreciate it will depend on where they're at. A recommended read at least once in your lifetime. Give it a shot, welcome its calming affect and be prepared to read it again and again!
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