Sunday, September 16, 2012

Exquisite Gems from 'Eleven Minutes' by Paulo Coelho

Eleven MinutesEleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Far more important than talking about the plot summary and the characters or what I liked and disliked about this book right now is to share with you the exquisite gems generously scattered all through the narrative of Eleven Minutes.
Just so that you know, I'm in love with Paulo Coelho, all over again, and with God, for ever so lovingly and intelligently placing into my hands right books at the right time. Read on. You will understand.

"At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss."

"You can't say to the spring: "Come now and last as long as possible." 

 You can only say: "Come and bless me with your hope, and stay as long as you can."" 

"In order to avoid being tempted by love, she kept her heart for her diary."

"Yes, I love you very much, as I have never loved another man, and that is precisely why I'm leaving, because if I stayed, the dream would become reality, the desire to possess, to want your life to be short, all the things that transform love into slavery. It's best left like this- a dream. We have to be careful what we take from a country, or from life."

"'What is more important in life? Living or pretending to live?
Should I take a risk and say that this has been the loveliest afternoon I've spent in all the time I've been here? Should I thank him for listening to me without criticism and without comment? Or should I simply don the armour of the woman with willpower, with the 'special light', and leave without saying anything?"'

“A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace” 

"'How does light enter a house? through the open windows. How does light enter a person? Through the open door of love."'

"Ralf Hart, you are a man in the most beautiful, intense sense of the word.You have supported me and helped me, you have let me support and help you, without there being any humiliation on either side."

“'All my life, I thought of love as some kind of voluntary enslavement. Well that's a lie: freedom only exists when love is present. The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly.
And the person who loves wholeheartedly feels free. 
It hurt when I lost each of the various men I fell in love with. Now, though, I'm convinced that no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. 
That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.” 

"But their relationship was based on freedom, and no other sort of relationship would work- perhaps that was the only reason they loved each other, because they knew they didn't need each other."

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn't have the courage to say "yes" to life?” 

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.” 

"'Oh yes, I loved, I loved very deeply. I loved so deeply that when my love asked me for a gift, I took fright and fled."'

"'This is for you. It contains some of my sweat, some of my concentration and my willpower, and I'm giving it to you now.'
She placed the pen gently in his hand.
'Instead of buying something that you would like to have, I'm giving you something that is mine, truly mine. A gift. A sign of respect for the person before me, asking him to understand how important it is to be by his side. Now he has a small part of me with him, which I gave him with my free, spontaneous will."'

"'I carry with me part of your past, and you carry with you a little of my present. Isn't that lovely?"' 

"She had not understood a word of it, but, at times when she felt she had lost control of herself and of her destiny, the book had served as a reminder of her objective in life. It had been a silent companion, with its plain yellow cover, its series of graphs, but, above all, it had been a lighthouse in the dark nights of recent weeks."

"'I'll come and see you tomorrow, then, at the Copacabana.'
 'No, don't. Wait a week. I've learned that waiting is the most difficult bit, and I want to get used to the feeling, knowing that you are with me, even when you're not by my side.'"

“Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. 
Generally speaking, these meetings occur when we reach a limit, when we need to die and be reborn emotionally. These meetings are waiting for us, but more often than not, we avoid them happening. "

“If I must be faithful to someone or something, I have, first of all, have to be faithful to myself.” 

"She was terrified. she was beginning to realise that after long months of self control, the pressure, the earthquake, the volcano of her soul was showing signs that it was about to erupt, and the moment that this happened, she would have no way of controlling her feelings."

"'I'm thinking about him because I was able to talk to him."' 

“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it”

"She would not cage the bird, nor would she suggest he go with her to Brazil; he was the only truly pure thing that had happened to her. A bird like that must fly free and feed on nostalgia for the time when he flew alongside someone else. And she was a bird too..."

"Keeping passion at bay or surrendering blindly to it - which of these two attitudes is the least destructive? 

I don't know.” 

"After all we are human beings, we are born full of guilt; we feel terrified when happiness becomes a real possibility."

"...but I couldn't stand living without love any longer; I had reached my limit....I'm not sure he'll come back, but, for the first time in my life, that doesn't matter. It's enough just to love him, to be with him in my thoughts and to colour this lovely city with his steps, his words, his love."

"Certain things cannot be shared. Nor can we be afraid of the oceans into which we plunge of our own free will; fear cramps everyone's style. Man goes through hell in order to understand this. Love one another, but let's not try to possess one another.
I love this man sitting before me now, because I do not possess him and he does not possess me. We are free in our mutual surrender..."

"She had finally discovered that real love had nothing to do with what she imagined, that is, with a chain of events provoked by the energy engendered by love- courtship, engagement, marriage, children, waiting, cooking, the amusement park on Sundays, more waiting, getting old together, an end to the waiting, and the, in its place, comes your husband's retirement, illnesses, the feeling that it is far too late to live out your dream together."

“I need to write about love. I need to think and think and write about love-otherwise, my soul won’t survive.”

“Sometimes life is very mean: a person can spend days, weeks, months and years without feeling new. Then, when a door opens- as happened with Maria when she met Ralf Hart- a positive avalanche pours in. One moment, you have nothing, the next, you have more than you can cope with.” 

"Believe in me, as I believe in you."

"'I want you however you want to be wanted."'

"'I love you.'
 'I love you too.'
 'I'm sorry, I don't know what I'm saying.'
 'Nor do I.'"

"It's really easy being as romantic as people in the movies, don't you think?"

 "She kissed him, utterly indifferent now to what happens after the words 'The End' appear on the cinema screen.But if one day someone should decide to tell her story, she would ask them to begin it just as all the fairy tales begin:
Once upon a time....."
All in all, the poetic prose and the heart warming messages made me absoloutely fall in love with the story and the story teller both.
The predictable ending made so alluringly unpredictable made for the icing on the cake.

View all my reviews


  1. I love this book. But alchemist is what made me Coelho's fan... :)
    and a very nice post here.

    1. And it 'By the river Piedra..' that made me Coelho's fan :)
      Keep coming back.


Hey there! Your comment might prove to be just the push needed for me to write more frequently and with a bit more thought and planning. Do take out a minute or two and tell me what you felt about this blog or this post of mine and any suggestions you think might prove to be useful. Your comment is highly awaited...