Book Review: The Zahir

Zahir is described in the book as something which, when touched or seen, can never be forgotten. In the narrator’s case, his zahir was his wife, Esther, who left him for mysterious reasons.

Zahir may not be the best novel of Paulo Coehlo but it sure struck my emotional cords and made me reflect on life and my dealings with other people. It dropped meaningful lines here and there which made me want to reread some paragraphs before moving farther on with the story.

I believe that reading books or watching movies are sometimes dependent on our current moods or present circumstances. A book that I once didn’t like may become a splendid read a second time when my mood shifts. When I first watched The Notebook in the theater, I found it to be overly dramatic to the point that it seemed corny. I couldn’t understand why my peers liked the movie so much. But seeing the movie again on HBO gave me a different feeling about the movie. It was still overly dramatic for me, but the dialogues became stronger and thus more piercing.

I mention this because I knew that on another given day, I would have found Zahir to be quite preachy about life and relationships, and I frown on preachy literature. Today I can forgive Paulo Coehlo and just absorb his wisdom without a fuss. I wonder why he subtitled it, “A Novel of Obsession.” Was the narrator obsessed with his quest of winning back his wife? I wouldn’t term it as obsession, but rather determination to seek answers as to why he was abandoned without explanation, and determination to once again set his eyes on the girl he considers to be his zahir.

The nameless narrator’s search for his wife is part of his closing circles. It hardly mattered if his wife will reject him anew or welcome him back in her arms. He just firmly believed that the answers to his questions would give him freedom and thereby help him to come full circle with his chapter on Esther.

A good friend once told me that life could be quite tricky. We may think that we are living a life, but are actually just drifting along time, like floating in wild abandon in the ocean. Living our lives would require us to think, ask questions, seek for answers, make decisions and face the consequences of our decisions. How many of us can be really brave enough to actually live a life? Just how many of us will go through great lengths to conquer our zahir?

There came a time in my life when I saw myself as that brave lady who knows what she wants to do. But lately, I find myself in a scary and undetermined stance, trying to be aware about my character, thoughts and beliefs once more. The answers I once held as truths thinned out without much of a trace. I find myself in a pool of uncertainties once more. I am trying to find out what I really hold dear and weighing the things I must consider important. I am beginning to redefine my existence.
Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment