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Veronika Decides to Die Paperback – 17 Oct 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (17 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8172235437
  • ISBN-13: 978-8172235437
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 583,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

‘An exceptional writer.' USA TODAY

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

‘One of the few to deserve the term Publishing Phenomenon.’
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

‘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

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Veronika decides to die, ends up in a mental institute with people who may or may not be really mad and through her experiences is inspired to see life a different way. If you are looking for a fable filled adventure like The Alchemist this may not be for you. There is no magic nor pyramids. However, there are still similar themes of "living life to the full" and "Doing what you born to do." This book had all the dark aspects that could have made it into a horror movie - attempted suicide, mental hospitals, strange doctors, snowy weather. If it were written by Stephen King there would be psychotic clowns and deranged doctors. However, Paulo Coelho has managed to cleverly put a positive spin to a sad circumstance. This book will keep you up at night not because it is scary but because its themes of living for today will let you ponder about whether you are living for the now and not tomorrow.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this book not knowing what to expect sometime after reading the Alchemist (which i found rather average compared to what people had told me about it). Much to my supprise, this book was instantly enjoyable and did not hesitate in getting into the "story", we are taken through the last few days of what remains of Veronikas life and we discover what Veronika (and a lot of us) discovers, which is, there are a lot of good things worth living for in this life which we seem to have forgotten about as it is so easy to concentrate on the bad. This book is beautiful, poetic and best of all very easy to read. The book does not fail to inspire the deepest of Sceptics and the hardest of men. A book for all to enjoy.
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