Aleph


Every moment is a new beginning

Decide to change. Reinvent yourself. Make another step. Experiment. Discover. Believe in your dreams. Conquer the unknown. Keep on asking and live consciously. This way every moment is a new beginning.

The time comes when you feel the need to consider how you live your life, if you are where you want to be and do what you want to do. Aleph, Paulo Coelho’s new novel, invites you to take action.

Some books are read. Aleph is lived.

Editions

Rights sold in 36 languages:
Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Complex), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malayalam, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish. 

 

Reviews

"A new tale of magical longing... Masterful." 
-- SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

 

"Spiritualists and wanderlusts will eagerly devour The Alchemist author’s fiery diatribes about love, fear, and the search for all things meaningful." 

-- THE WASHINGTON POST 

 

"Lost in Translation for the New Age set. . . . Paulo and Hilal find each other during a period of spiritual seeking." 

-- THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 

 

"...Another magical mystery tour from the always inspirational Paulo Coelho" 
-- BOOKLIST 

 

"Aleph is a book written by the soul, and for the soul." 
-- CECILIA SAMARTIN, AUTHOR OF BROKEN PARADISE

 

"Vivid, captivating. . . . So engaging that readers will not want to put it down for even a fraction of a second. As the author sets out on his journey, the reader gets the sense that, he too, is embarking on the same voyage." 
-- THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE

 

"[A] chimerical tale ... There’s no better author to serve such a work than Coelho." 
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

 

"Enigmatic ... An illuminating book" 
-- THE NATIONAL

 

"Borges set the standard that Coelho capably upholds. . . . Coelho the writer is both discerning and revealing of Coelho the protagonist, whose enthusiasms we share." 
-- THE WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW 

 

"A quite impressive novel." 
-- SABAH NEWSPAPER; TURKEY 

 

"Aleph. A surprisingly honest story." 
-- TRUD, BULGARIA 

 

"Aleph, is surpringly personal. Again a great and beautiful book." 
-- LIBELLE, THE NETHERLANDS 

 

"ALEPH is Coelho's best book ever ... the book exudes purity, simplicity and sincerity." 
-- HAPPINEZ, THE NETHERLANDS

 

"Coelho takes his train forward. He is a skilled writer who can keep the reader in his grip. Coelho’s brand, encouraging us to believe in our own dreams, can be found in this story also. Once at the terminal station, the main character has found his passion. It feels like the author Coelho has found his way back to his readers" 
-- AAMULEHTI, FINLAND 

 

"A novel coming from true experience, always playing with reality: an edge that the author enjoys to cross forward and backward, an art in which Coelho has always shown his mastery." 
-- CORRIERE DELLA SERA, ITALY

 

"Alef is - apart from that and despite everything else - also a book about need and art of forgiving, forgiving oneself and the others. That is - in itself - nice, commendable and real." 
-- ILITERATURA.CZ, CZECH REPUBLIC

 
Extracts

The conversation continues, time passes quickly and I need to wrap things up. For the last question, I choose, at random, out of the six hundred people there, a middle-aged man with a bushy moustache.


‘I don’t want to ask a question,’ he says. ‘I just want to say a name.’


The name he pronounces is that of Barbazan-Debat, a chapel in the middle of nowhere, thousands of kilometres from here, the same chapel where, one day, I placed a plaque in gratitude for a miracle and which I had visited, before setting out on this pilgrimage, in order to pray for Our Lady’s protection.


I don’t know how to respond. The following words were written by one of the other people on stage with me.

 

In the room, the Universe seemed suddenly to have stopped moving. So many things happened: I saw your tears and the tears of your dear wife, when that anonymous reader pronounced the name of that distant chapel.

You could no longer speak. Your smiling face grew serious. Your eyes filled with shy tears that trembled on your lashes, as if wishing to apologise for appearing there uninvited.

Even I had a lump in my throat, although I didn’t know why. I looked for my wife and daughter in the audience, because I always look to them whenever I feel myself to be on the brink of something unknown.
They were there, but they were sitting as silently as everyone else, their eyes fixed on you, trying to support you with their gaze, as if a gaze could ever support anyone.

Then I looked to Christina for help, trying to understand what was going on, how to bring to an end that seemingly interminable silence.
And I saw that she was silently crying too, as if you were both notes from the same symphony and as if your tears were touching, even though you were sitting far apart.

For several long seconds, nothing existed, there was no room, no audience, nothing. You and your wife had set off for a place where we could not follow; all that remained was the joy of living, expressed in silence and emotion.

Words are tears that have been written down. Tears are words that need to be shed. Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end. Thank you, then, for your tears.

 

I should have said to the young woman who asked the first question about signs that this was a sign, confirming that I was where I should be, in the right place, at the right time, even though I didn’t understand what had brought me there.

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

When I arrive at the Moscow hotel with my publisher and my editor, a young woman is waiting outside for me. She comes over and grasps my hands in hers.


‘I need to talk to you. I’ve come all the way from Ekaterinburg to do just that.’

I’m tired. I woke up earlier than usual and had to change planes in Paris because there was no direct flight. I tried to sleep on the journey, but every time I managed to drop off, I would fall into the same unpleasant, recurring dream.


I hold out my hand to say goodbye and notice that hers is very cold.


‘Why didn’t you wait for me inside?’


‘I read your blog the other day and realised that you were talking directly to me.’

She takes out a piece of paper containing the article. I know it by heart, although I can’t remember who told me the story.


A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues:

 

When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.


After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered:


‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead.
‘I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you.

‘Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm.
‘You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’

Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house.
‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’

Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

I see that Hilal is starting to feel uncomfortable.

‘I’m not interested in what our relationship was in a past life. We’re here in the present. In Novosibirsk, you made me forgive you and I did. Now I’m asking you a favour: tell me that you love me.’
I hold her hand.

‘You see this river?


“ Well, in the living room in my apartment at home is a painting of a rose immersed in just such a river. Half of the painting was exposed to the effects of the water and the elements, so the edges are a bit rough, and yet I can still see part of that beautiful red rose against a gold background.

 

“I know the artist. In 2003, we went together to a forest in the Pyrenees and found a dried-up stream and we hid the painting under the stones on the stream bed.
‘The artist is my wife.

 

“When I met her, I was convinced that our relationship wouldn’t work out, and for the first two years, I was sure that one of us would leave.
“ In the five years that followed, I continued to think that we had simply got used to one another and that as soon as we realised this, we would each go our separate ways.


“ I thought that a more serious commitment would deprive me of my “liberty” and keep me from experiencing everything I wanted to experience.’

 

‘I understand and respect what you’re saying,’ Hilal says. ‘But in the restaurant, when you were talking about the past, you said something about love being stronger than the individual.’

 

‘Yes, but love is made up of choices.’

 

We are both gazing at the river.

 

‘Silence is also an answer,’ she says.

I put my arms around her, so that her head is resting on my shoulder.

‘I love you,’ I tell her.

‘I love you because all the loves in the world are like different rivers flowing into the same lake, where they meet and are transformed into a single love that becomes rain and blesses the earth.

‘I love you like a river that gives water to the thirsty and takes people where they want to go.

‘I love you like a river which understands that it must learn to flow differently over waterfalls and to rest in the shallows.

‘I love you because we are all born in the same place, at the same source, which keeps us provided with a constant supply of water. And so, when we feel weak, all we have to do is wait a little. The spring returns, the winter snows melt and fill us with new energy.

‘I receive your love and I give you mine.

“Not the love of a man for a woman, not the love of a father for a child, not the love of God for his creatures.
“But a love with no name and no explanation
‘Like a river that cannot explain why it follows a particular course, but simply flows onwards.

‘A love that asks for nothing and gives nothing in return; it is simply there. I will never be yours and you will never be mine; nevertheless, I can honestly say: I love you.’

Maybe it’s the afternoon, maybe it’s the light, but at that moment, the Universe seems finally to be in perfect harmony. We stay where we are, feeling not the slightest desire to go back to the hotel, where Yao will doubtless be waiting for me.

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