19 January 2020
I read Paulo Coelho's most famous novel over a decade ago in 2007, and,
even though I follow him on social media, I haven't delved
back into his work until recently when I read Aleph.
This semi-autobiographical tale of his journey into past lives
is deep into some religious bullshit, but also contains a
strong strain of a grain of hidden truth. In meeting Hilal,
who he helped torture and kill as a member of the inquisition
in a previous life, he is able to make some sense of feelings
at the edge of his conciousness. We have all experienced deja
vu, or met someone for the first time that it seems we've
known our whole lives. Coelho brings this feeling to the next
level by making it reality in his fiction. And so the reader
is left feeling as if they have penetrated into a deeper
understanding of the universe. The religious will no doubt
believe that in fact they have, whereas the more enlightened
can still enjoy that religious experience through the
Aleph without actually buying into any of it.
I came away from the reading with a desire to travel further
in the corpus of his work, much as the central characters of
his novel travelled across Russia on the railroad to
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Bradley James Wogsland.
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