Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho, of course a very famous writer and i must not describe how popular are his novels. He has written many novels, but i have read only two of them. First one i read “The alchemist” which was a brilliant book. It was given to me by one of my friends and it was an e-book. I was very impressed by him, his perception about life and everything. Recently, i read his another book called “eleven minutes”. The subject matter was brilliant, of course. However, i did not find it very impressive. Its because it took me 3 hours to complete the last 45 pages in the book. It means the book did not make me impatient to gulp at once and to read it till the end until I finish. However, i must say that the book was quite interesting from the beginning which many novels cannot maintain.

Of course, some things were new to me and i got to realise more about my own body, sexuality and the orgasm. But it helped me to rethink my one of the most conservative belief i.e about prostitution. Whenever i used to think of prostitution and prostitutes, i used to feel pity on them because for me, the people turn out to be a prostitute when they have no any alternative and no choice. However, now i think i will not look at them with sympathy but with respect and reverence as any other profession. Before i was OK with pre-marital affairs but not with extra-marital affairs. I think both of them are not under our control, maybe we can repress and we can suppress our desire but it may lead to other social crimes as well.

The story centers around a girl named “Maria”. She is from a suburb area of inner Brazilian town. She had always dreamt of her Prince charming who would eventually come and sweep her away from her feet and then they would have a pretty house with sea view and they would live happily ever after. She fell in love for the first time when she was eleven with a boy but the affair could not success. She again fell in love when when she was 15 and she had dreamt him of the boy in his dream with whom she wants to spend the life . again the fate had decided something different to Maria. She invented many techniques of masturbation and as she was fond of movies, beaches, parties, she had always thought of going to Rio de Jeneri alone and on her own. She made it finally. There she got an agent who wanted her to work in Swittzerland. She wanted risks, challenges and difficulty and she did not want to go back to her town. So, she went away with him. However, she found it different when she arrived over there. She earned very less. However, with the help of her Arab friend she knew that the Swiss law was very strict and her usage of word “lawyer” freed her from the job of a Samba dancer and also earned her 5000$. It was amazing for her. Then she had decided to go back to Brazil but later on she renounced the idea and started searching for job as a model. She spent the considerable amount of her money in the photographs, rented a room and lived there. She had even brought the pre-paid mobile but the phone didn’t ring at all. In order to kill her time, she visited the library and started reading the books.

Now finally she found that her goal has no road, she had two choices. Either to go back to Brazil and marry one of her lovers or the other way round she could start a new life take up the challenges and shape her own future. She chose the later one. Now she began her career as a prostitute. She had still the choice but she chose to be a prostitute. She worked in the club called Copacabana. She slept with many men and all of them, she found to be insecure. She acted like a teacher, like an understanding mother and as a lover. She used to moan if she didn’t want, she showed them they had been able to please her and that they were the man. So most of the time the visitors used to get pleased with her.

One day she happened to encounter with a painter named Ralph. He said he saw the light in her and she was surprised with the use of the word “light”. Many people had described many things about her but no one had ever mentioned the word light. That day she was embarrassed and anxious. She said she was a prostitute and said that she finds the painting bore as hell. However, later on they went to stroll. Ralph also expressed many things about himself honestly to a person whom he had met just some hours before. Maria discovered that she had secretly fallen in love with him. Since all these years, she had been able to prevent herself from being loved and to love someone, however this time she could not help. Love had always brought pain and suffering in her life and she didn’t want one.

One night, Ralph came as a customer but she refused to go with him. However, when he didn’t appear for the next three days, she felt how lonely she was. So, when after three days he appeared, she offered to pay her three times a general customer and then fulfilled the ritual of dance and took her to his hime. However, they did not make love but instead exchanged gifts. They had a beautiful moment together in the side of fireplace thought it was the midsummer.

Later on, she happened to encounter with a very different type of cliente named Terence. This unique personality made her know and feel the sadomasochism. Sadomasochism is a process where the pleasure is obtained by inflicting the pain and humiliation and the . tthere she made the progress. She was so much humiliated, made naked, made to walk down without looking at him, but she was pleading him to make love to her. However, he had given her the choice to stop. The interesting factor was that she didn’t ask for it. She had no ego, nothing of her. She was empty and so she could be whatever she wanted to become. She bore the pain and the suffering, preferred to be handcuffed and felt the orgasm inside her. It was the special moment for her.

She could not deny that she was in love with Ralph. However, she did not want to imprison him. She wanted to liberate him. She found that she had nothing to lose which meant that she had everything with her. She wanted to free everyone including herself. So, one time she made the decision to go back that eveyryting has a limit and she did not want to do the thing that she was doing all her life. She knew her limit and that she has to stop. She bid farewell to the club, to the librarian and finally to Ralp. However, when she went to Ralph, for the first time they made love to each other physically but spiritually they had made love thousand of times. It was deep and intense but could not arouse orgasm. They debated for some time and later on they tried again. Both felt the beauty of those eleven minutes. They were not themselves anymore. They were in different world. The most precious moment. Both felt the optimum bliss of orgasm. However, maria as a strong girl did not change her plan and went to airport the next day. She had hoped that he would come to take her away from the airport but when he did not appear she found that it was useless. However, there was he at the airport of Paris and she found that she was never that much happy before.

Its the story of a young girl who gets to know many things from her life within one year. She was a samba dancer, she was a prostitute, she was a lover and she was a French learner. She experienced her own life, set to face the challenges and there was she, still strong and determined with that light on her face. She was enlightened being. She knew far more than her age. I salute for her firmness and i hope that i may too understand the whole life system, the pain, suffering and the sense of ultimate freedom.


  1. I've read many review regarding this book... Though I've gone through so many reviews, I've not gone through this novel yet :P

    Now, after your review, I'm thinking should I borrow this novel from library now? I think, I must go through this once, to feel this novel.

  2. I dont know how to analyze a book or what certain things written in a book mean, but as much as I understood about this book, this is one of the greatest book I've ever read. This is a kind of book that after reading it, we feel proud about overselves. The factor that this is not a fictional, but a real life story makes it more epic. Truely a masterpiece!