The bestselling novel from international literary phenomenon Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist.
A chance meeting in Rio takes Maria to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune, yet ends up working the streets as a prostitute. In Geneva, Maria drifts further and further away from love while at the same time developing 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.
A daring modern fable about the nature of love and sex.
PRAISE FOR ELEVEN MINUTES
“Has a strange and potent chemistry of its own.” The Observer
“Coelho has a deceptively simple but elegant writing style which sits well with this strange but gripping tale.” Glasgow Evening Times
“Refreshing and insightful…an uplifting read.” What’s On In London
“A simply-told fable for our times, highlighting the quest for personal spiritual enlightenment.” Belfast Telegraph
Awarded 4 stars in New Woman magazine review
About the author
Paulo Coelho is the author of The Alchemist, he was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Being the author of 30 books that have sold over 320 million copies in 170 countries, he has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. Paulo Coelho has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2007 and this has allowed him to continue to promote intercultural dialogue and to focus on the needs of children. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and the recipient of over 115 awards and honours, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Grinzane Cavour Book Award and the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur, to name a few.
Other titles include: The Pilgrimage, Brida, The Valkyries, The Fifth Mountain, Manual of the Warrior of Light, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, Like the Flowing River, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph.
"Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria" thus begins Coelho's latest novel, a book that cannot decide whether it wants to be fairy tale or saga of sexual discovery, so ends up satisfying the demands of neither. In his dedication, bestselling Brazilian novelist Coelho (The Alchemist) tells readers that his book will deal with issues that are "harsh, difficult, shocking," but neither his tame forays into S&M nor his rather technical observations about female anatomy and the sad but hardly new fact that many women are dissatisfied with their sex lives will do much to shock American readers. In Maria, however, the author has created a strong, sensual young woman who grabs our sympathy from the first, as she suffers unrequited love as a child, learns a bit about sex as a teenager and, at 19, makes the ill-advised decision to leave Rio on a Swedish stranger's promise of fame and fortune. Maria's trials and triumphs she goes from restaurant dancer to high-class prostitute would make for an entertaining if rather prosaic novel, but Coelho, unfortunately, does not leave it there. Instead, he embarks on 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.
This book really resonated with me. This was my first time reading Paulo Coelho’s books and I am so grateful to have known about this extremely talented author. I can’t wait to try his other books. I am sold!!!!
Should be read at least once.