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Veronika decides to die was something else from Paulo Coelho. This book has less metaphors and to be hones so much simpler than the other books. Physically, it is less thicker than the other novel by Paulo Coelho so that I believe many people could use this book as a starter book for beginner reader.
Veronika was a young girl who has everything in this life but she felt loneliness and emptiness inside her. After a long time in sorrowful situation, Veronika decides to end up her life by taking pills. She was able to be saved and be kept in a mad house where then, she learned lots of thing about life.
With less metaphors and difficult terms, this book was easier for me to understand. The story was written in a very usual way and I think it was kind of different from the other books.
But still, I love this book so much since I couldn't sto reading this book from the first time I read it. Some people might like this book better than the other Coelho's work because it is easier to be understood. But for me, to be honest, this is not my favorite.
After reading 'The Alchemist' and 'The Devil and Miss Prym', I turned to 'Veronika decides to die' and found the plot to be fantastic, leaving you with that taste of surreality which readers such as myself look for. Paulo Coelho plots Veronika's fate with infinite care, weaving the mystery of her decision to take her own life.
Veroninika is young, pretty and not without skill but yet she decides she'd rather escape life than live in a world where her fate is to be an old housewife with a straying husband. This novel tears holes in modern existance and is a great read for anybody who ever questions life.
Veronika Decides To Die is the third book I have read by Paulo Coelho. The first book I read by him was The Devil and Miss Prym, lent to me by my girlfriend Emma, and I was instantly trapped in Paulos fictitious world.
Veronika is a young lady who has pretty much everything she could possibly want. She is good looking, has a comfortable lifestyle, has countless boyfriends and, most importantly, has the unconditional love and support of her family. She lives in a convent in Ljubljana, in Slovenia. So, why is it exactly that Veronika decides to die?
The main reason behind her sudden crazed suicidal obsession is she places no importance in her life or anything that she does. She has no passion for life. She feels no love, no hate, no happiness and no sadness. She is in no way depressed, and has no reason to be either.
One fateful day she decides it is the right time to leave this world. She takes an overdose of four packets of sleeping tablets and, after a short period of contemplation, falls asleep in the hope of never waking up.
Of course, Veronika doesnt die; otherwise it would be a pretty poor story. Her first image upon waking up is one of the inside of a mental asylum in the village of Vilette.
Veronika was immediately despondent at the realisation she was still alive and couldnt believe her bad luck. She was determined not to stay in this world and couldnt stand the thought of another day in this monotonous, boring world.
As always, there was a twist of fate. Within a short space of time, Veronika was informed that, although her suicide attempt had been unsuccessful, she would grant her ultimate risk in the long run as she had done irreparable damage to her heart and would be dead within a week.
But, guess what? Yep, you got it theres another twist!! Im not going to go any further into the plot though, as it would just spoil it for you.
Veronika seems to be quite a level headed young lady. She is resentful for the unconditional love she received from her parents and longs to experience the basic human feelings that we all feel.
Zedka is an older woman who, although having been severely depressed, is well on the mend. She has a very clear outlook on life and passes these thoughts on to Veronika throughout the book. She clearly has quite an influence on Veronika.
Mari is also an older woman. She is part of a group called the fraternity. This is a group of people who are well enough to return home at any time they please but have found some solace within the confines of the asylum. Mari, although confident inside the walls of the asylum, is fearful of returning to the real world, a world where panic attacks and reality can strike at any time.
Eduard is the son of a powerful politician who is deemed to be a schizophrenic. He never talks to anyone, apart from Mari on the odd occasion. Beneath the hollow exterior that Eduard radiates is an intelligent man, frustrated by his parents denial of his right to live his life in the way he pleases.
Eduard made me think of Paulo Coelho at many times throughout the book. The lives of the two men seemed to be, from my limited knowledge, consisting of similar experiences.
Some Random Information
First Published: 1999
Overall Rating: 85%
What The Critics Said
Coelhos writing is beautifully poetic... He gives me hope and puts a smile on my face The Express
The global bestseller The Alchemist established Coelhos reputation and Veronika is sure to reaffirm it intensely poetic this is a powerful and unsettling reminder that we must always seize the day. Time Out
His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people The Times
One of the few to deserve the term publishing phenomenon. Independent on Sunday
More Importantly, What I Said
Like all of the other books I have read by Paulo Coelho, I found this one to be a very easy read. The characters are all very likeable and I found many to be believable characters from any walk of life.
I liked the way in which Paulo made me ask questions of myself and my own life, without actually asking any questions. There are descriptions of many feelings that I think a lot of people will have felt regret, exasperation, loneliness, unhappiness, frustration, panic attacks, etc..
I enjoy Paulos writing style immensely. He writes very simply but very cleverly. I find his writing very easy to read, yet not condescending. His choice of words is normally very good and his experience of mental asylums provides him with all the ammunition to really get a grip on this story.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who has a few hours to spare. At just 191 pages, it is long enough to provide you with a very good, meaningful story, yet short enough to leave you quickly satisfied.
About The Author
Paulo Coelho was born in 1947 in Brazil. His father, Pedro, was an engineer and his mother, Lygia, was a housewife. His parents desperately wanted him to follow in his father's footsteps and become an engineer. Paulo had other ideas, ideas of being a writer. His first success with literature came when he was a young boy, in a school poetry competition. His parents totally opposed his wishes and did their utmost to ensure he never followed his dream.
As Paulo got older he began to rebel. He became more determined not to adhere to his parents' wishes and rules. His father supposed, due to Paulo's "bizarre" behaviour, that he was mentally ill. Not only did he suppose, he took action. At the age of just seventeen, his father had him committed to a psychiatric hospital, not once but twice! Whilst in the care of the psychiatric hospital, Paulo was subjected to session after session of electroconvulsive therapy.
Still Paulo ignored his father's wishes and joined a theatre group and obtained a job as a journalist. Worried about their son once more, his parents had him readmitted to the psychiatric hospital. At the time, theatre in Brazil was a big problem - there were no morals involved in this world and it contravened "normal" ideological views. Paulo experienced further problems, surely caused by his serial mistreatment and, once more, his parents sought help.
This time they were slightly less radical. They called out a doctor in order to get an assessment on his mental health. Unsurprisingly, to me at least, the doctor said that there was no way that Paulo was mad - he was just a youngster struggling to find his way in the world. These experiences were a major influence in the writing of one of his other books - Veronika decides to die.
Paulo returned to his studies for a short while - a decision probably taken to quell his parents' ridiculous reactions towards his behaviour. It didn't last long though as he dropped out soon after and reengaged with the theatre. By this time, it was well into the 60s. The well known "hippie" regime was well in season by this time and Paulo was sucked in by the whole thing - but then again, who wasn't back then? He took on the hippie life in all ways - he donned long hair for some time and also got involved with drugs.
Shortly after, Paulo was asked to write some lyrics for a guy called Raul Seixas. The first record was nothing special but the second was a massive success, selling over half a million copies! Paulo subsequently wrote more and more songs for Raul - totalling 60 by the end of their partnership. Their music apparently altered the Brazilian rock genre forever. Controversial comic books, written by Paulo and Raul had a major impact on both of their lives soon after. Both were imprisoned for these, as they contradicted what the tyrannical dictatorship declared acceptable. Paulo, seeming to be the brains behind the operation was detained for longer.
Within two days of his release, Paulo was accosted again - it seemed he had really p*ssed the dictatorship off!! He was subsequently transported to a military torture centre - presumably of the Guantanamo Bay genre - where he remained for about a week. Paulo recounted that he only managed to get out of there by convincing his torturers that he was stark raving mad. How did he do this? Well, firstly he started to cut shreds out of himself while they were watching and, secondly, he revealed his history of mental health "problems".
Having suffered such atrocities throughout his younger years it is no wonder that Paulo has taken a spiritual route in his writings. He beat the drugs and decided to seek some spiritual "meaning" in life. Along the way he also published several books, some relating to his experiences, some to his thoughts on life. So successful, he has had his books translated into an incredible fifty six different languages and has topped the best sellers lists on several occasions in several countries throughout the world.
Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil and has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. He is renowned for his novel "The Alchemist", and is the recipient of numerous international awards.
Paulo Coelho was confined to a mental hospital in Rio de Janeiro three times during his teenage years. He had a very shy, reserved personality and merely want to explore his artistic nature. However as his behaviour was so different to that of his friends and peers it was deemed reason enough to send him to a mental hospital. When he left, for the last time in 1967, Paulo promised himself that one day he would write about his experiences, however he also promised himself not to do this during his parent's lifetime out of respect for the pain and suffering this would cause them. Instead Paulo found a way to release his experiences by way of the novel "Veronika decides to die", published by Harper Collins in 1999.
"On 11 November 1997, Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had - at last - arrived. She carefully cleaned the room that she rented in a convent, turned of the heating, brushed her teeth and lay down"
Veronika has everything she could wish for. She is young, pretty, has plenty of attractive boyfriends, a steady job and a loving family. She lives in the beautiful Capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana, yet Veronika is not happy and one winter's morning she takes an overdose of incredibly powerful sleeping pills, desperate to end the routine of her life. Unfortunately for her, she wakes up in Villete, the famous and much feared lunatic asylum, which had been in existence since 1991, the year of Slovenia's independence. There, she is told that although she is alive, her heart is now irreparably damaged and she has only a few days to live.
Although Veronika was adamant her life should have been over, she now faces a waiting game in Villete, and has to succumb to the "madness" of the patients, and the rules and regulations strictly adhered to by both the nurses and doctors. The story of "Veronika decides to die" follows her through these intense days as she begins to question her existence and ideas about life. Soon she begins to realise that every second of life is worth living, and against all the odds she begins to find herself falling in love with life and wanting to live again.
During Veronika's stay at Villete (time really has no meaning here), she encounters several other "inmates" who all manage to make a big impact on her life, although unknown to her, and as her spirit awakens she begins to make a noticeable difference to their lives. Zedka, who was admitted into Villete for depression, and although is almost cured, wishes to stay in Villete due to the comfort and regularity of the surroundings. Mari, a member of the Fraternity (a group of longer standing members who could have left several years ago, but stay at the states expenses due to the hospitals familiarity, and who behave like dangerous maniacs whenever there is a government inspection), and Eduard, a schizophrenic, whose madness was reportedly beyond cure, but was infiltrated by the enchanting piano music he cared to listen to.
"Veronika decides to die" is a relatively short novel, around 190 pages, so could easily be read in one sitting. However to really appreciate the messages that Paulo Coelho is trying to get across, I found it preferable to read the story in short segments at a time, allowing me to reflect more deeply on the story unfolding before me. Paulo Coelho is trying to teach the reader several things, whilst observing his own promise to reveal his personal experiences of a doctor-patient relationship into a mental hospital. Whilst teaching the reader, Coelho also delves into the standards to the mental hospitals and even touches on the boundaries of Doctors practise and how far they are allowed to go without requesting full consent from the patient in question.
In light of this, on 22 January 1999, Senator Eduardo Suplicy read out extracts from "Veronika decides to die" to the Brazilian Congress, and was finally successful in obtaining approval for a law forbidding arbitrary admissions into mental hospitals.
Obviously the main focus of the story is on Veronika, but a fair amount of time is spent on the developing relationship between her and the other inmates. This allows the reader to develop a greater understanding of the situation Veronika is in, and a better understanding of the word "mad" and its many means and associations.
I would recommend this book to all ages, in particular those who struggle through the monotonous routines of life, as this book shows you clearly how much more is out there for us to experience. Although I thought the book was too short, I was enraptured by the more poetic flair of Paulo Coelho, and thoroughly enjoyed his tale.
In particular a quote by the Belfast Newsletter, Ireland, in October 2000 summaries the book very well. "A compelling read fascinating. The account of a desperate young woman's search for the will to live when she is so close to death gives much food for thought."
"Veronika decides to die" is available from most good bookshops, although I purchased my copy (published by Ted Smart) from Amazon Market place, brand new, for GBP 1.99
Publisher: Harper Collins
RRP: GBP 7.99
This was an really wonderfull reading experience. I truly recommend it to everybody who likes coelho's books, and why not to others as well. It was not the kind of story you wuold think, it really suprised and schocked and made me laugh and made me cry... you could feel almost every feeling there is on the earth, and you could really get deeply in to the story. And that is something that is defenitely worth experiencing.
Veronika decides to die is a book about life and death but more about living and dying. The title may put some people off but I didn't let it put me off so you shouldn't either, its not as depressing as it sounds. It is very cleverly written and this book, like no other I have read, is thought provoking with a few brilliant twists that kept my interest till the end. As Veronika wakes after the failed suicide attempt she is told that she only has days to live this first of all shocks her then it has a far better effect of making every moment count as she goes through what she believes is the final few days of her life. She pals up with another couple of "mad" people that are staying at Villette and finally realises how stupid she was in thinking that she had nothing to live for. This book really does make you think, at only 191 pages you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was a quick read, it is a very insightful look into what makes a persons life unique and special and it really does make you think about your life. We all take life for granted and we must "seize the day" and make the most of what we have. I haven't read anything else by the author Paulo Coelho, who is Brazilian and wrote the renowned worldwide bestseller "The Alchemist", but I will go on to read this as I was most impressed by this book! He has also written at least four other books which all sound interesting. This book doesn't just look into Veronika's life but 3 other "inmates" as the author describes them, called Eduard, Zedka and Mari, who all have various degrees of "madness" but the book also takes a look at what put them in the hospital in the first place. This is such an interesting read, so well written and a must read, so if you want to try a new author I would recommend Paulo Coelho and Veronika decides to die. Thanks for reading, A
It seems that most of what Paulo Coelho has written has changed and/or inspired the lives of many, positively, cleverly and entertainingly, and at the same time some of those novels have become huge selling modern classics. Aside from 'The Alchemist' which is Coelho's most praised work (which I haven't read - I've only read this), the chillingly and intriguingly titled 'Veronika Decides To Die' is undoubtedly another publishing phenomenon, as one critic rightly terms Coelho's works. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this satisfying lengthed book and found it hard to put down. The ingredients which make this such a stunning work, comprise of adequate levels of gripping, almost poetic style mixed with a very human, real and interesting tale with emphasis on centrals being executed clearly and with beauty. I can honestly say that Coelho has not only confirmed with me some existing opinions on life, but also shown me more open doors, like the central character, which would've otherwise remained blind to me. Veronika lives in Slovenia, in a rented room in a convent and is young, and pretty and lives a contented, though routine life, and so with intentions of preserving this beauty in trapped time, she tries to romantically end it all with the courage to overdose on sleeping pills. Unfortunately for her, her suicide bid fails and she finds herself in the intensive care unit of the notorious-for-many-reasons Villette mental hospital, and after somewhat recovering she learns that she has less than a week to live, and so the book charts these gruelling lasts days in where she waits for death, loses her inhibitions, and tries to pack in as much into the remainder of her life as she can. This journey which seems to finish where it starts, sees Veronika at first try to resign into wanting death, and then being drawn uncontrollably into living with the help of the wisdom-blessed Dr Igor, the other inmate
s, and the supposedly-sane Fraternity section. Along the way she befriends them and changes her own (short...) life aswell as theirs and we can see that, and also see glimpses into the lives of other characters such as Zedka who was admitted after severe depression, Mari who suffered from panic attacks and the mostly mute schizophrenic Eduard. The stories, the links and the outcome - I won't reveal for obvious non-spoiling reasons. All these lives, experiences and views imposed by impending thoughts of treating every day as a miracle merge everything together into a kind of a resolve, which is actually a very relieving, hopeful and light-hearted read than what the title and synopsis may suggest. Infact, I don't think the reader has much spot-on anticipation of what lies next, as Coelho gives you more than you bargain for. Which is a good thing! You just open your head, accept, learn and enjoy - and think "woah" and "yeah"; probably, and more. Coelho draws on the hauntings only to compare and emphasise on positivity, and that is the key to this book. It feels good, it's empowering, it's a great engrossing story and it's beautifully written. I'd recommend anybody to read this and/or any other Coelho book as I'm sure this talented Brazillian born writer will one day in the future accrue much much more credit than he has already. An excellent, and must read. The ideal book to hand to someone who listens to a bit too much of The Smiths, probably.
Veronika was a beautiful woman with every thing going her way she could have any man she wanted. she was confortable...so why did she want to die? Well because she had every thing. She decides that she has done every thing in life that makes it worth living for. So she takes an over dose and wait for death to take her. But that would not make very good reading, not to mention it would only last one chapter, no she is saved and she goes to a mental hospital where she is told she has but three weeks left to live. So this book looks at her last moments in this world, and it looks at the different ideals behind being mad and what people think. Paul Coelho uses not only her story but tells you the stories of other patients putting plenty of plot into it. It certainly changed my opinion of mad people. This is a definet read it has changed my life and made me think in a better way about life. Go buy it now!
Veronika is SUPPOSED to be happy... She is beautiful... She is talented... She has got a steady job... Her family adores her... So what is wrong with you Veronika? Why did you tried to kill yourself and throw everything away.It couldn't have been what you put in your last letter. Not to explain to the World where Slovenia is (by the way it's in the middle of Europe and is one of the ex-Yugoslavian countries). So why Veronika? You must be mad. Yes, you landed in the right place dear, couple of nut cases bunched together, in a nice privately financed building. They all crazy so you will make an excellent additionon here. Well, of course for the amount of time you have left. 7 days - God has punished your for trying to take your life away, by letting you to watch what you're losing - in a very slow motion. I would rather avoid Zedka if I were you - her simple wisdom might awaken the will to live you obviously lost long ago. And Fraternity - stay away from them - your life is too short to be involved in anything A'propos involving - Edward - bad idea - do you think love will bring your life back Missie? I don't think so. Well you kind of brought on yourself Veronika, now you wish to live huh? Now, you know what you losing. Now, you found love and meaning of all this... Well, tough because you are just leaving this place... World... forever... I would pack my bags and because the departure is tomorrow.. Goodbye Veronika. This is quick sketch of the story - bad grammar intentional ;-). Some of you might not be great fans of P. Coelho's most famous book 'The Alchemist'. The follow up books were more or less touching on similar subjects. They were more of a bridge between reality and fantasy. Well, sit down and hold on tight - because this book proves that Coehlo is not afraid to take a different turn. There is not much supernatural events in the
life of Veronika, it's seems a bit dull rather. She is not a pilgrim or madly in love. She simply decides to die. She is not fully successful though and wakes up in a mental hospital only to find out she has a few days to live... Couple of days with the death just around the corner help her realise the truth meaning of life... The book is very well written and I read it in one evening because I couldn't stop (my evening finished at 3am though). I wonder if someone knows why Veronika wanted to kill herself and what is the meaning of life and why I would drink water from the Well. I am not going to tell you because I want everyone to read this book.
After a failed suicide attempt, Veronika awakes in a hospital. Informed that she has only days to live, the story follows this intense period in her life.