In his most personal novel to date, internationally best-selling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. Read more...
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Date: Sept 2011
From the book
"Remember the Aleph. Remember what you felt at that moment. Try to bring into this sacred place something that you don't know but that is there in your heart. If necessary, think of a favorite symphony and let it guide yo to where you need to go. That's all that matters now. Words, explanations, and questions won't help; they'll only confuse something that is already quite complex enough. Forgive me, but let that forgiveness come from the depths of your soul, the same soul that passes from one body to another and learns as it travels through nonexistent time and infinite space.
"We can never wound the soul, just as we can never wound God, but we can become imprisoned by our memories, and that makes our lives wretched even when we have everything we need in order to be happy. If only we could be entirely here, as if we had just woken up on planet Earth and found ourselves inside a golden temple, but we
"I don't see why I should forgive the man I love. Or perhaps only for one thing, for never having heard those same
words on his lips." A smell of incense begins to waft toward us. The priests are coming in for morning prayers.
"Forget who you are now and go to the place where the person you always were is waiting. There you will find the
right words, and then you can forgive me."
Hilal seeks inspiration in the gilded walls, the pillars, the people entering the church at this early hour, the fl ames of the lit candles. She closes her eyes, possibly following my suggestion and imagining some music.
"You won't believe this, but I think I can see a girl, a girl who isn't here anymore but who wants to come back . . ."
I ask her to listen to what the girl has to say.
"The girl forgives you, not because she has become a saint but because she can no longer bear to carry this burden of hatred. Hating is very wearisome. I don't know if something is changing in Heaven or on Earth, or if my soul is being damned or saved, but I feel utterly exhausted, and only now do I understand why. I forgive the man who tried to destroy me when I was ten years old. He knew what he was doing, and I did not. But I felt that it was my fault, and I hated him and myself. I hated everyone who came near me, but now my soul is being set free."
This isn't what I was expecting.
"Forgive everything and everyone, but forgive me, too,"
I ask her. "Include me in your forgiveness."
"I forgive everything and everyone, including you, even though I don't know what crime you have committed. I forgive you because I love you and because you don't love me. I forgive you because you help me to stay close to my Devil, even though I haven't thought of him for years. I forgive you because you reject me and my powers are wasted, and I forgive you because you don't understand who I am or what I'm doing here. I forgive you and the Devil who touched my body before I even knew what life was about. He touched my body but distorted my soul."
She puts her hands together in prayer. I would have liked her forgiveness to have been exclusively for me, but Hilal is redeeming her whole world, and perhaps that is better. Her body starts to tremble. Her eyes fill with tears.
"Must it be here, in a church? Let's go outside into the open air. Please!"
"No, it has to be in a church. One day we'll do the same thing outside, but today it has to be in a church. Please, forgive me."
She closes her eyes and holds her hands aloft. A woman coming into the church sees this gesture and shakes her head disapprovingly. We are in a sacred place; the rituals are different here, and we should respect the traditions. I pretend not to notice,...
"A new tale of magical longing. . . . Masterful." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Coelho is a novelist who writes in a universal language." - The New York Times
"It's time for American readers to set out on a journey of discovery that will lead them to the works of this exceptional writer." - USA Today
"[Coelho's] books have had a life-enhancing effect on millions of people." - The Times (London)
"Spiritualists and wanderlusts will eagerly devour The Alchemist author's fiery diatribes about love, fear, and the search for all things meaningful." - The Washington Post
"Aleph is a book written by the soul, and for the soul. At once tender and fiercely courageous, it challenges you with an embrace while seducing you with a discerning blade that points directly at the heart of what matters most in life and death. And when you have finished the last word on the last page, even if your logical mind doesn't completely understand all that you've read, your eternal spirit will be dancing with joy." - Cecilia Samartin, author of Broken Paradise
"Vivid, captivating. . . . So engaging that readers will not want to put it down for even a fraction of a second. As the author sets out on his journey, the reader gets the sense that, he too, is embarking on the same voyage." - The International Herald Tribune
"[A] chimerical tale. . . . There's no better author to serve such a work than Coelho." - Publishers Weekly
"Enigmatic. . . . An illuminating book." - The National
"Borges set the standard that Coelho capably upholds. . . . Coelho the writer is both discerning and revealing of Coelho the protagonist, whose enthusiasms we share." - The Washington Independent Review