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     Volume 1 Issue 10 | October 8, 2006 |


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Book Review

Review of “Veronika Decides to Die”

Efadul Huq

Veronika Decides to Die is another inspiring symphony of words from the world-renowned author Paulo Coelho, whose best-loved work The Alchemist has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 42 languages.

Veronika Decides to Die is the tale of a young and pretty lady, 'Veronika', who has everything in life that she could wish for. She is attractive, has many handsome boyfriends, goes dancing with them, has a steady job that she likes, has a loving father and a caring mother. Yet amidst all the happiness she is not really happy and feels the lack of something in her life.

On the morning of November 11th 1997, she decides to die, not by shooting, jumping off a high building or hanging but by a far more romantic method adopted by Hollywood heroines taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

After the overdose she loses consciousness and wakes up not in heaven but in Villette, the famous and much-feared lunatic asylum, a home for the insane and sane alike. It is then that she is told, the sleeping pills have damaged her heart and she will live only for a few more days.As she prepares to finish the task she had decided upon some events, new relationships and her doctor's trick changes her view towards life.The story follows Veronika through these intense days when she wants to live but knows she has little time left. She finds herself drawn into the enclosed world of Villette. She learns to see her past relationships more clearly and understand why she felt her life had no meaning.In this heightened state, Veronika discovers things which she never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love even sexual awakening. Against all odds, she finds herself falling in love and wanting, if at all possible, to live again.Veronika's experiences lead her gradually to realize that every second of existence is a choice that we make between living and dying.

The novel is coloured by Coelho's intimate knowledge of asylums and poetic use of alphabets to form magical words which in turn forms a potion that charms your senses. Insanity in this novel is a contrast to the monotony of a normal life where everything is scheduled. Coelho has been successful at provoking the feeling of self-discovery in the minds of his readers in this book and has challenged all limitations and traditions.

In the world of Coelho's words you learn that being different doesn't mean being crazy and you understand that the 'reality is something the majority deems it to be, not necessarily the best or the most logical one'. Along with Veronika, you feel that love and religious beliefs are the most important feelings one can have in life. Moreover, Coelho's vivid storytelling gives you the chance to look at the world from the eyes of a so-called lunatic.

Veronika Decides to Die is rather a bridge between life and death than a novel. It helps you realize that every moment of life is a precious gift a miracle! Read it once and when the last page is read, you may find the answers to some of your numerous questions about life because this novel is a hymn to life!

The book is currently available in Bookworm.




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