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The Zahir


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About the Author

Paulo Coelho is an international bestselling author whose books--The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept and The Fifth Mountain-have sold more than 23 million copies in 117 countries and have been translated into 41 languages.


Finding himself in the grips of "the Zahir," a Middle Eastern expression for an all-encompassing obsession, the narrator, a successful novelist, reexamines his life and marriage in an effort to break the bonds of his fixation. His wife, Esther, a war correspondent, has disappeared, last seen with a younger man in a caf?, and the narrator's search for her leads him on an expansive physical and spiritual quest. From Paris to Kazakhstan, the novelist encounters a number of cultures and subcultures with varying views of and preconceptions about love and the achievement of ultimate happiness. Brazilian author Coelho, known for such best-selling inspirational fables as The Alchemist, has written an enlightening story of faith and the reclamation of pure love. Personal elements incorporating his own experiences as an author and his pilgrimages to various exotic locations lend the novel a highly autobiographical feel. Recommended for all popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/05.]-Joy St. John, Henderson Dist. P.L., NV Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The press chat cites 65 million copies of Coelho's eight previous novels in print, making the Brazilian author one of the world's bestselling novelists (150 countries and 56 languages). This book, whose title means "the present" or "unable to go unnoticed" in Arabic, has an initial staggered laydown of eight million copies in 83 countries and 42 languages. It centers on the narrator's search for his missing wife, Esther, a journalist who fled Iraq in the runup to the present war, only to disappear from Paris; the narrator, a writer, is freed from suspicion when his lover, Marie, comes forward with a (true) alibi. He seeks out Mikhail, the man who may be Esther's most recent lover and with whom she was last seen, who has abandoned his native Kazakhstan for a kind of speaking tour on love. Mikhail introduces the narrator to a global underground "tribe" of spiritual seekers who resist, somewhat vaguely, conventional ways of living. Through the narrator's journey from Paris to Kazakhstan, Coelho explores various meanings of love and life, but the impact of these lessons is diminished significantly as they are repeated in various forms by various characters. Then again, 65 million readers can't be wrong; the spare, propulsive style that drove The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes and Coelho's other books will easily carry fans through myriad iterations of the ways and means of amor. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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