Veronika Decides to Die Paperback – 17 Oct 2005
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"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.
‘An exceptional writer.' USA TODAY
‘His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people.’
‘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.’
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Top Customer Reviews
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).
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heavy handed writing style, odd story, good moral, strange readPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really great story about life, seizing the day and taking chances.
Kindle version appears to be littered with spelling mistakes though?
There's still hope even when all seems lost and love is the key. A must read for all who have so much as even thought about taking their own life. For everyone really. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr M.