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Veronika Decides to Die [Paperback]

Paulo Coelho , Margaret Jull Costa
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,277 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
9 of 9 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
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
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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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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27 of 32 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
By A Customer
I think the book is very well written and has a beautiful ending. I also believe that Paulo Coelho described "the strange country that no one seemed quite able to place" in a very good way and you can see that he knows Ljubljana very well. I would recommend this book in every way.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another 'thinker' from Coelho 31 Oct 2002
After I read 'The Alchemist' I wanted to explore more of this authors writings, and 'Veronika decides to die' seemed the natural progression.
Something that struck me, was my visualisation of the little town in Slovenia where Veronika lives was very clear, Sometimes I read books and find the picture in my minds eye to be clouded and interrupted, but in this book it was clear as a bell and sharp. Even the hospital she spends much of her time in: I could almost smell the bleach!
I think the main tone of this story is that life is precious, and we should make the most of it. I guess in the hurly burly day to day events of city life, that can be all to easy to forget, and Coelho tries, and succeeds to wake us up to the fact that there is more to life than work and toil, that we only have to look out of our windows and see the world turning to understand how important life is.
Coelho's writing is poetic and deep, probably not the light relief someone might want on holiday, but these books are I believe important and the message they have, page after page is a message that is good and incredibly simple. There are SO many things to read out there, hundreds of thousands of books to choose from, and of course, choice can only be a good thing. But here is a book, that like 'the alchemist', the story does not leave you when you close the book for the last time. The story and the message will be there every day, and I think will make that day a little bit easier and more fulfilling.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging issues
A very strange subject for a story, but it gives the opportunity to explore some challenging issues, and to raise some thought-provoking questions. Read more
Published 26 days ago by DavidL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Laveeza
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing literature by Coelho, as always. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Published 1 month ago by Reshma Patel
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Great book like most of Paulo Coelho' s books. Enjoyed it thoroughly
Published 1 month ago by L. DeMellow
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Outstanding book about realising what is important in life. Extremly facinating. A masterpiece!
Published 1 month ago by Jan Patrik SahlstrÝm
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it.
It is a good time killer. It is an easy story with an interesting conclusion about what makes as go mad.
Published 1 month ago by pawelgonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite Coelho book
my favourite Coelho book, great read, but don't watch the movie it has very little to do with the book
Published 2 months ago by tinamk
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho author has 20 million followers on Facebook so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TheEthnicReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Coelhooked!
my first Paulo Coelho book. Imaginative and provocative story telling, written with great insight. Stories within stories with synergistic effects. Nice twist at the end. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Loved the book, well translated, beautifully written, scarey thought to be in the hands of a mental institution, worth reading.
Published 3 months ago by daisy
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