Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eleven minutes - Book review

Eleven minutes is the fourth book of Paulo Coelho I read. I have read The Alchemist, Like the flowing river, and The winner stands alone previously.

I got surprised with the subject of the book- sex and love. I thought Paulo Coelho will handle this subject in a most timid way. But he was open with this subject too, as usual.

No one would have written so wonderfully about sex and love before. After reading the book, I felt that Sex is not a subject of taboo. But is one of the essential needs. But as Coelho rightly pointed out sex without love is of no use. Like food without salt, it won’t taste good.

The story revolves around Maria, who chooses prostitution as a profession, not that she cannot find any other profession, but as a way of easy money. She want to return to her native place as one who has succeeded in life and with enough money to lead a good life. She did not want to cut a sorry figure.

Her beauty and intelligence helps her to climb up the chart in her profession. However, the first paid sex happened to her accidentally. She was called on my one of the modeling agency for a photo shoot with a guy, who actually was interested only in having sex with her. When he offered him the chance, Maria first breaks into tears. However she accepts since the money was big enough for her. Later she lands herself in a brothel house named Copacabana, named after the famous beach in her native country.

Well Copacabana was in Geneva, where she was initially hired with false promises of good income as a Salsa dancer. She after landing in Geneva felt much like a bonded laborer who is paid less.

Maria has made one decision in life that to never fall in love again because of her initial failures and was able to remain so until she met Ralf, a painter who fell for the light in her eyes.

But soon she realizes the true love, with no possessiveness for Ralf. She wished to leave him and go to her native. But the fate had a different idea.

I reproduce below the few thoughts of Paulo Coelho on sex and love as found in the book Eleven minutes.
·         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?"

·         When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself."

·         The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility."
"We can also allow our Soulmate to pass us by,without accepting him or her,or even noticing. Then we will need another incarnation in order to find that Soulmate. And because of our selfishness, we will be condemned to the worst torture humankind ever invented for itself: loneliness."

  • I’ve met a man and fallen in love with him. I allowed myself to fall in love for one simple reason: I’m not expecting anything to come of it. I know that, in three months’ time, I’ll be far away and he’ll be just a memory, but I couldn’t stand living without love any longer; I had reached my limit…
    Generally speaking, these meetings occur when we reach a limit, when we need to die and be reborn emotionally. These meeting are waiting for us, but more often than not, we avoid them happening. If we are desperate, though, if we have nothing to lose, or if we are full of enthusiasm for life, then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes directions."

·         "When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side. And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds."

  • "Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they're not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or--such is the pleasure they experience--they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them."

·         "In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel. It hurt when I lost each of the various men I fell in love with. Now, though, I am 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."

·         "Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free."

·         "I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It's all a question of how I view my life."

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

·         "But something always went wrong, and the relationship would end precisely at the moment when she was sure that this was the person with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life. After a long time, she came to the conclusion that men brought only pain, frustration, suffering and a sense of time dragging."

·         "Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other."

·         "Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings."

·         "Love is not to be found in someone else, but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person. The universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our feelings with."

·         "The Marquis De Sade said that the most important experiences a man can have are those that take him to the very limit; that is the only way we learn, because it requires all our courage. When a boss humiliates an employee, or a man humiliates his wife, he is merely being cowardly or taking his revenge on life, they are people who have never dared to look into the depths of their soul, never attempted to know the origin of that desire to unleash the wild beast, or to understand that sex, pain and love are all extreme experiences. Only those who know those frontiers know life; everything else is just passing the time, repeating the same tasks, growing old and dying without ever having discovered what we are doing here."

·         "I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I'm a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other."

·         "But if I don’t think about love, I will be nothing."

·         "What made you fall in love with a prostitute?”
“I didn’t understand it myself at the time. But I’ve thought about it since, and I think it was because, knowing that your body would never be mine alone, I had to concentrate on conquering your soul."

·         "The universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our feelings with."

·         A man doesn't prove he's a man by getting an erection. He's only a real man if he can pleasure a woman. And if he can pleasure a prostitute, he'll think he's the best lover on the block" -Nyah"  ( Maria friend)

And what does Eleven minutes mean? It is the maximum time taken for the actual act of sexual intercourse.

Anybody exceeded the limit?

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