Eleven Minutes (Paulo Coelho) – A Book Review

“I begin with the name of Allah, the most merciful”.

“Once Upon a Time there was a prostitute…”.

Paulo Coelho’s great work of fiction “Eleven Minutes” starts with this statement that apparently indicates a conflict but in its depth is hidden a fact that a prostitute has all the right in the world to be a protagonist in a “Fairy Tale”.

Paulo takes us along with him on a journey from interior Brazil to Rio Dejinero and then to Switzerland. We follow Maria, a prostitute, not due to her ill fate but by choice, a choice driven by the disappointments of a longing for lost love and an ultimate desire to experiment and experience what no girl of her town had experienced before.

From her childhood Maria had an unusual bad luck with boys and it seemed that a normal relationship was beyond her reach. She would for one reason or another end up with a broken heart. It worsened to the extent where she starts deeming masturbation as a superior alternative to intercourse.

Although losing interest in a serious relationship, she finds that handling men was not a difficult task anyways and starts to flirt, handling multiple men brilliantly without letting them take advantage. Maria’s adventurous nature takes her to Rio Dejinero in pursuit of a modeling and film career. She signs up with the devil for a trip to Switzerland and ends up in the alien city of Geneve with an open choice of either becoming a high class prostitute or returning back home with a sense of failure. She chooses prostitution.

Eleven minutes is the story of Maria re-discovering love through a painter who saw a light in her blotted soul. It differentiates animalistic instincts from the submittance of one’s self into an embrace of love. It explores the deepest desires of a being whose body is in constant supply of the physical bondage but suffers from the dearth of blissful fulfilment of the soul. She swims in the river of lust and still feels the thirst for a drop of love. She experiences the mechanics of an orgasms but longs the one orgasm that is fulfilling and requires not even a touch. All this is manifested in her love for the painter who sees in her the girl and not the prostitute.

Ending with a union of the two lovers, the story is a classical happy ending but the treatment makes it much more than that. It is an experience and one that should never be missed. I urge you all to give it a read and comment here.

Source by Adnan Khalid

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