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Veronika Decides to Die [Paperback]

Paulo Coelho , Margaret Jull Costa
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

4 Sep 2000

The new novel from internationally acclaimed author Paulo Coelho – a dramatic story of love, life and death that shows us all why every second of our existence is a choice we all make between living and dying.

Veronika has everything she could wish for. She is young and pretty, has plenty of boyfriends, a steady job, a loving family. Yet she is not happy; something is lacking in her life, and one morning she decides to die. She takes an overdose of sleeping pills, only to wake up some time later in the local hospital. There she is told that her heart is damaged and she has only a few days to live.

The story follows Veronika through these intense days as to her surprise she finds herself experiencing feelings she has never really felt before. Against all odds she finds herself falling in love and even wanting to live again…

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Film Tie-in ed edition (4 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722540442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722540442
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,707 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


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

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

‘One of the few to deserve the term “Publishing Phenomenon”’

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE! 18 Jan 2000
By A Customer
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sort of beautiful. 23 Jun 2012
By finalguy TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece about the right to be different 1 July 1999
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear 30 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Oh dear, I am sorry but I really did not like this book at all. It took me much longer to read than the Alchemist and By the River...I kept expecting something to happen but now I'm not sure what that was. The ending was exactly what I expected and I think that made it disappointing for me. I don't want to guess the ending and be right. I think there was perhaps someone's fantasy written into this book and I didn't really want to read it. Bit slow going. Definitely not for me. I won't be passing this one on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Veronika Decides to Die was my first Coehlo read. I purchased this book due to it's synopsis: philosophy and fiction aren't a mix for everyone, but they usually pique my interest.

Having read it, I may as well call this book Veronika Must Die. Here's why: the lead character Veronika is bratish, assumptive and unrealistically convinced of the pointlessness of her life without Coehlo's narrative justifying her view. She is plain annoying and I enjoyed the support characters far more than her predicament.

Coehlo presumes that everyone will be be perplexed by a young, attractive girl 'with her whole life ahead of her' who is staunchly resolved to end it asap. This might be true, if the girls experience to date had limited her view on her lifes possibilities; so she genuinely felt suicide the best option. However, the reader comes to see that Veronika merely presumes to know what lies ahead- there's commentary about the role of women in society (self-sacrificing and for what real gain?) in her early monologue, for instance. Funnily, it is the characters who she meets and gets to know in the mental asylum (particularly one female character whose name I forget but her storyline was one of the major plus points for me) who she actually learns through and realises the possibilities in life. Her will to live is sparked whilst inside, but her know-it-all attitude just grates. Even as I read the more pleasant parts in the book, I could not become absorbed by the philosophical predicament proposed, the story or by the characterisation of Veronika.

If you are really keen to read this book, I advise buying it second hand or borrowing from a library. You may well love it.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, thought-provoking, therapeutic 30 Jan 2002
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Paulo Coelho does it again
I think this is the 4th book I've read by Coelho. Always thought provoking. Special to this book is that it borrowed heavily from the author's own experience as a young man. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Mick
1.0 out of 5 stars awful
i was scanned i was sent another book a Sherlock Holmes book. And it was a book from a library. The ticket was still available. I got very angry and threw it away
Published 2 months ago by elina grase
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
I loved the alchemist and a friend bought this for me, it's very good, I love the way his books make me look at my own life from a new angle.
Published 3 months ago by Refna100
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Very thought provoking...So much so it kept me turning pages way past bedtime. I love Paulo Coelhos work more and more.
Published 3 months ago by bumbleblue
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Interesting "thesis" on the benefits of looking at life as a gift. Very well written as a page-turner.Took a star off cos it seems to end quite abruptly. Read more
Published 3 months ago by CW66
5.0 out of 5 stars Maddeningly unable to put down
I loved this book. I think I always had an incline for the ending but enjoyed waiting for it to play out! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars =
Got this for my English Lit coursework and it's such a good book to read anyway, highly recommend - very good.
Published 3 months ago by Jessica
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow starter
The book is a bit of a slow starter in relation to other books by the same author. I think this is one of his weaker pieces of writing in terms of the opening few chapters. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sanze
5.0 out of 5 stars well written, great story
My second time reading this book, and i love. it's one of my favourite books, ss i definitely recommend it.
Published 3 months ago by A. Sjurkalina
5.0 out of 5 stars Time well spent
An interesting look at how we shape our meaning of life, he captures so well how easy it is for us to change the meaning we associate our own sense of reality
Published 5 months ago by paul Hare
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