• Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why I Find Paulo Coelho Exhausting

Shoumik Muhammed Mushfique

For every great writer, there are a million mundane writers. It is quite baffling how often we see the best passing by unheard of and grotesquely underappreciated whereas far inferior writers hog up ridiculous fanfare and hype. I am quite sure we all have that friend who introduced us to a certain Paulo Coelho, the self proclaimed “Literature Wizard”, proclaiming how this man's words changed their lives. I am also quite sure that a few of us were thoroughly disgusted with ourselves after we threw unrecoverable hours into the man's books. Paulo Coelho is best known for works of fiction like “The Alchemist”. He is adored for his esoteric and philosophic tone of storytelling. He is seen as a new age, new-occult Sufi and is worshipped by fans around the world.

Though fans claim that his work is very 'profound,' others are of the opinion that his stories contain zero logic and progress without any development. Everything happens co-incidentally. The writing is mundane and repetitive. The most obvious things are sugarcoated and presented as if they are extremely deep observations. Moreover, the plots aren't entirely original either. Paulo Coelho takes parts of stories from early stories like the 1001 Nights in Arabia, cleverly avoiding copyrights issues and sews them into his books passing them as his own. Any plot seems to be a vehicle for Coelho's redundant self-help philosophy. Most of his books are about people with skyward eyes following their dreams. Of course, the journey is more of a psychedelic trip with a splash of heightened sensations and epiphanies and they never face adversities. It's almost as if there are no obstacles to any goal in life, as his most famous and divisive quote goes: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Of course, none of us ever wanted things we would be eventually denied. The Universe throws all of what we ask for into our laps.
Here are some quotes by Paulo Coelho that I could never, despite trying very hard, explain or justify.
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” -- The
Alchemist
(Does that justify certain types of loving?)

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” -- By The River Piedra I sat Down and Wept
(What? Not childbirth or rejection or poverty? Also, even the title of the book is a total rip-off)
“The wise are wise only because they love. The fools are fools only because they think they can understand love.”
(Since when is wisdom all about love?)
“All women have a perception much more developed than men. So all women somehow, being repressed for so many millennia, they ended up by developing this sixth sense and contemplation and love. And this is something that we have a hard time to accept as part of our society.”
(That's a revolutionary way of looking at evolution.)
“Feelings do not grow old along with the body. Feelings form part of a world I don't know, but it's a world where there's no time, so space, no frontiers.” -- Brida
(How does he know there's no time, space or frontier if he doesn't know the world?)
There is a twitter page called FakePauloCoelho and its “preachings” happen to carry far more weight than that of the real Paulo Coelho.
If Coelho's market were entirely comprised of Beliebers, his fame would have made sense but once you see celebrities like Julia Roberts backing the man and his extremely fluffy work becoming bestsellers, something's bound to feel wrong. Of course in retrospect, this is the age of “50 Shades of Grey” and One Direction.

 

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

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