Summary and book reviews of Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Eleven Minutes

by Paulo Coelho

Eleven Minutes
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2004, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2005, 304 pages

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Book Summary

This gripping and daring new novel sensitively explores the sacred nature of sex and love and invites us to confront our own prejudices and demons and embrace our own "inner light."

A new, international bestseller by the author of The Alchemist tells the story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that "Love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer ..." A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Instead, she ends up working as a prostitute.

In Geneva, Maria drifts further and further away from love as she develops a fascination with sex. Eventually, Maria's despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. In this odyssey of self-discovery, Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness, sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything to find her own "inner light" and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love.

In this gripping and daring new novel, Paulo Coelho sensitively explores the sacred nature of sex and love and invites us to confront our own prejudices and demons and embrace our own "inner light."

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. "Once upon a time" is how all the best children's stories begin and "prostitute" is a word for adults. How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let's keep that beginning.


Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria.

Like all prostitutes, she was born both innocent and a virgin, and, as an adolescent, she dreamed of meeting the man of her life (rich, handsome, intelligent), of getting married (in a wedding dress), having two children (who would grow up to be famous) and living in a lovely house (with a sea view). Her father was a travelling salesman, her mother a seamstress, and her hometown, in the interior of Brazil, had only one cinema, one nightclub and one bank, which was why Maria was always hoping that one day, without warning, her Prince Charming would arrive, sweep ...

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Introduction

Maria is a young girl from a Brazilian village whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that "Love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer…." A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune, yet ends up working as a prostitute."

In Geneva, Maria's despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. In this odyssey of self-discovery, Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness, sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything to find her own "inner light" and the ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The growth of the main character from innocent village girl to the writer of philosophical journal entries stretches credibility a little too far, and the whole story seems to be too obvious a vehicle for moralizing.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (423 words).

Media Reviews

Amazon.co.uk - Barry Forshaw

Paulo Coelho's astonishingly beautiful writing in Eleven Minutes virtually guarantees it the cult status that The Alchemist already enjoys.....There are echoes of DH Lawrence in Coelho's exploration of the sacred and spiritual aspects of sex and it's a brave author who tackles a subject that can so easily slip into strained seriousness.

Publishers Weekly

....a philosophical exploration of sexual love, using Maria's increasingly ponderous and pseudo-philosophical diary entries as a means for expounding on the nature of sexual desire, passion and love. At the end, the story boils down to a rather predictable romance tarted up with a few sexy trappings.

Library Journal

New territory for an internationally best-selling author a prostitute learns the meaning of love.

Kirkus Reviews

The Brazilian Coelho, whose inspirational fables have sold about 50 million copies in 150 countries in 57 languages, at times persuades reviewers with his talent but often is seen as gucky and spiritually challenged.....Down-to-earth dialogue and detail about classy whoring one of Coelho's strongest.

Reader Reviews

Becky

Captivating ~ Addictive
Enjoyed every word...every minute...it presents all sides & kinds of women: inexperienced # professional , weak # strong , sensitive # courageous , the insecure..educated..sexy - all in one woman! It's Captivating and Addictive.

Bridget Forde

Eleven Minutes
I read this book two years ago and re-read it occasionally even now. I loved that Paulo Coelho was able to give such an accurate account of a young woman's hopes and dreams and the book was a delight to read. The ending was weak and sentimental ...   Read More

rinki

A+
I really liked this book. It made me see the other side of the coin. life is really very beautiful, everything has a meaning of its own. everything we do in this world is connected to some other thing. I love this author. thank you very much for ...   Read More

Naomi

A most read book!
This book is a passionate exploration of the beauty of "making love". I read this book in just a few hours. I loved every moment. I have to say I fell in love with every word. Soñe, no con una situacion ni con una persona, sino con un perfume, ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the city where he now lives. In 1970, after deciding that law school was not for him, he traveled through much of South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe. Returning to Brazil after two years, he began a successful career as a popular songwriter. In 1974, he was imprisoned for a short time by the military dictatorship then ruling in Brazil. In 1980, he experienced one of the defining moments of his life: he walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain and achieved a self-awareness and a spiritual awakening that he later described in The Pilgrimage.  
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