Synopses & Reviews
Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything youth and beauty, boyfriends and a loving family, a fulfilling job. But something is missing in her life. So, one cold November morning, she takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up. But she does at a mental hospital where she is told that she has only days to live.
Inspired by events in Coelho's own life, Veronika Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Bold and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.
"The simple, often banal prose contrasts Veronika's bleak inner landscape with the beautiful contours of Slovenia, gradually culminating in an upbeat ending with the message that each day of life is a miracle....[W]ill appeal to readers who enjoy animated homilies about the worth of human existence." Publishers Weekly
"Told with sincerity approaching urgency, Coelho's novel is surprisingly effective." Boston Globe
"Girl, Interrupted meets The Catcher in the Rye...you'll appreciate Veronika's sensual nihilism." Mademoiselle
Veronika seems to have it all youth, beauty, a good job, and loving family. But one morning she wakes up and tries to kill herself. The attempt fails, but leaves her damaged with only a few days to live. In her final days she embarks on a transforming self-discovery.
About the Author
The Brazilian author Paulo Coelho was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theater director, actor, lyricist, and journalist. Coelho wrote song lyrics for many famous performers in Brazilian music, such as Elis Regina and Rita Lee, yet he is best known for his work with Raul Seixas. Together they wrote such successes as "Eu nasci há dez mil anos atrás" ("I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago"), "Gita," and "Al Capone."
His fascination with the spiritual quest dates back to his hippie days, when he travelled the world learning about secret societies, oriental religions, etc. In 1982, Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make any kind of impact. In 1985, he contributed to the Practical Manual of Vampirism, although he later tried to take it off the shelves, since he considered it "of bad quality." In 1986, Paulo Coelho did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage.