by Paulo Coelho (Harper Collins) ISBN: 978-0-00-7435551-7
The popular writer of spiritual books is not happy. A conversation with J, his mystic mentor, does not help him with his frustration. Paulo Coelho decides to embark on a journey to reconnect with his fans, much to his publishers’ dismay. They will need to accompany him on a train journey. Not just any train. He chooses the Trans-Siberian Railway, one of the longest railways in the world.
A young woman, Hilal insists on accompanying him. She is a talented musician who claims that she has to help Coelho with his spiritual journey. He is mildly irritated but realises he cannot stop her. As the journey progresses, and Hilal’s connection to Paulo Coelho’s past life becomes clear, Coelho realises the encounter is not by chance. Hilal was his lover 500 years ago. Her purpose in his present life is to help him discover forgiveness. Hilal helps Coelho to achieve a spiritual awakening that surpasses time and space.
The book is jarring. Coelho appears arrogant in certain chapters. I found his journey uncomfortable and not always clear. Perhaps it his ‘out of body and out of this world’ that I could not relate to. Coelho loyal fans will still enjoy the book.