Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paulo Coelho's Aleph: An Awakening on the Trans-Siberian Express


This autobiographical novel is something beyond two people finding themselves to be kings of their kingdoms again. It isn't just a journey that Paulo Coelho took through the Trans-Siberian Railways; it is a voyage through the silent distance that separates two souls while they don't know that they have been touching each other since eternity. To understand how everything in time and space can exist at one place and moment, Aleph is what you need.
Aleph is story of a book tour to various countries that Coelho took in 2006 when he was experiencing the pain of futility of everything that he had devoted his life to. He was agonized by his spiritual stagnation. He could no longer withstand the awakening that despite years of quest, he couldn't - and probably would never - find peace. He was losing touch with himself; his soul. And above all, he was tormented by the thought that he would never be the king of his kingdom again. Little did he know that this impulsive trip he took through Africa, Europe and Asia will end up uniting him with a Turkish beauty who will guide him back to his path, and towards the end of the 9289 kilometers through Russia, he would have regretted, as well as cherished, the moment when he decided to take this trip. And, most importantly, this journey would have made him 'the king of his kingdom'.
This Trans-Siberian journey introduces him to the most annoying and stubborn woman whom he first avoids, and then desires. He later finds out that it was this woman for whom he was destined to take this tedious book tour. Hilal is not only one of the eight women whom he had betrayed in one of his past lives, she is the woman who had died because she loved him. She, along with the other seven women, haunted him all through his present life, and previous ones too, without him knowing why. He is adamant to find the answer to this question in this incarnation and during this journey. The answer awaits him in a railway carriage when he experiences Aleph with Hilal. Coelho keeps his readers engaged through out the novel by hinting at the cruelty he had meted out to the eight women. However, with each hint increases the curiosity of the readers, until a time comes when you have to try hard not to skip to the last page.

Nathan Ake

About Nathan Ake

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