Thursday, February 28, 2013


Spiritual Fiction -  167 pages
Harper Perennial (first published in 1994)

I woke up a few days ago and walked up to my bookcase.  I felt the need to read this book.  It almost feels like Paulo Coelho's books have been coming to me almost predestined - I have felt an unconscious gravitation towards his books.  Every time it has happened, they have coincided to events in my life.  That's exactly what happened with this book.  By The River Piedra I Saw Down and Wept is a book of spirituality and love, and forgiveness.  Here's why this book is so important.

This review is part of the 2013 Paulo Coelho Spring Reading Challenge

The story in this book involves two individuals who were once in love and they are now seeing each other again after eleven years.  This has been the case in my life with the love of my life.  We grew up together, we loved each other and we never had a chance to tell each other how we felt.  Then, after ten/eleven years we saw each other again, and just like in this novel we have been experiencing similar moments.  Just like in The Alchemist the narrative of this story has personal relevance. 

This book is about the spirituality that is necessary for us to keep love alive.  "Lovers need to know how to loose themselves and then find themselves again."  In the process, we must also recognize the importance of God's love, as well as our love for one another.  "If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack the courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life.  We have to take love where we find it, even if that means hours, days, weeks of disappointment and sadness.  The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us.  And to save us." This book shows how this process is not as expected as we'd like it to be, it has its own curveballs, but we have to able to believe and be hopeful, it's part of the process of love.

Love comes in different shades and colors.  The main female character says the following:

"I also knew that from this moment on I was going to experience heave and hell, joy and pain, dreams and hopelessness; that I would no longer be capable of containing the winds that blew from the hidden corners of my soul.  I knew that from this moment on love would be my guide - and that it had waited to lead me ever since childhood, when I had felt love for the first time.  The truth is, I had never forgotten love, even when it deemed me unworthy of fighting for it.  But love had been difficult, and I had been reluctant to cross its frontiers."
The importance of knowing the true rewards of love cannot be denied.  Coelho mentions in this book that "a divided kingdom cannot defend itself from its adversaries.  A divided person cannot face life in a dignified way."  The grace needed to lead a dignified life stems from knowing the love within you, for others you love, and most of all God's love."In  order to have a spiritual life, you need not enter a seminary, or fast, or abstain, or take a vow of chastity.  All you have to do is have faith and accept God.  From then on, each of us becomes part of His path.  We become a vehicle for His miracles." 

During this whole time, there is an underlying theme that we often take for granted.  We forget the process of forgiveness, forgiveness for ourselves - for others - and for the circumstances.  We forgive.  We believe.  We have faith and hope.  And suddenly we feel God's love and move spiritually and gracefully through life. There is a conversation between the character that says exactly this.

"You still think that love can conquer all."
"Well, can't it?"
"Yes, it can. But it conquers at the right time - after the celestial battles have ended."
And this is what the book is all about....
Here is a map of all of other Paulo Coelho's books:

Bookserk by Author

Milan Kundera (4) Jane Austen (3) Stephenie Meyer (3) Suzanne Collins (3) Bernhard Schlink (2) F. Scott Fitzgerald (2) H.G. Wells (2) Herman Hesse (2) JRR Tolkien (2) Jules Verne (2) Khaled Hosseini (2) Paulo Coelho (2) Sam Kean (2) Stieg Larsson (2) Sylvia Day (2) A.G. Howard (1) Adam Johnson (1) Alafair Burke (1) Albert Einstein (1) Alexander Soderberg (1) Alicia Hendley (1) Amanda Hocking (1) Andre Dubus III (1) Ann Patchett (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Azar Nafisi (1) Barbara Kingsolver (1) Becky Aikman (1) Camilla Lackberg (1) Carl Sagan (1) Cat Hellisen (1) Charles Webb (1) Charlotte Bronte (1) Chinua Achebe (1) Chris Prentiss (1) Chrisanna Northrup (1) Christopher S. Stewart (1) Clare Clark (1) Clive Barker (1) Coltaire Rapaille (1) Dai Sijie (1) Daniel J. Levitin (1) Daniel Kahneman (1) Daniel Pink (1) David Foster Wallace (1) David Levithan (1) David Sedaris (1) Debra Driza (1) Domenica Ruta (1) Don Miguel Ruiz (1) Douglas Adams (1) Elie Weisel (1) Emily Bronte (1) Emlyn Chand (1) Enid Shomer (1) Epictetus (1) George Orwell (1) George R.R. Martin (1) Greg Graffin (1) Gretchen Rubin (1) Harper Lee (1) Haruki Murakami (1) Herman Koch (1) JR Moehringer (1) Jane Eyre (1) Jennifer Egan (1) Jodi Meadows (1) John Eldredge (1) John Englander (1) John Kenney (1) John Steinbeck (1) John T Cacioppo (1) Joyce Carol Oates (1) Judy Blume (1) Julia Glass (1) Karen Thompson Walker (1) Karol Jackowski (1) Kate Chopin (1) Kate Walbert (1) Katherine Boo (1) Lauren DeStefano (1) Lisa See (1) Lois Lowry (1) Lou Marinoff PhD (1) Madhulika Sikka (1) Maggie Stiefvater (1) Margot Livesey (1) Marissa Meyer (1) Martha Stout (1) Mary Roach (1) Mary Shelley (1) Meg Howrey (1) Megan Abbott (1) Natalie Babbitt (1) Nujood Ali (1) Oliver Harris (1) Paulo Giordano (1) Poet Charles Swain (1) Poet Margaret E. Sangster (1) Priscille Sibley (1) Ray Bradbury (1) Rebecca Dean (1) Richard Francis (1) Robert Louis Stevenson (1) Robert M. Pirsig (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Sarah Gruen (1) Sharon Lebell (1) Shirley MacLaine (1) Stasi Eldredge (1) Stephen Chbosky (1) Sue Kidd Monk (1) Susan Cain (1) Susanna Calahan (1) Tara Conklin (1) Tea Obreht (1) Terri Giuliano Long (1) Thrity Umrigar (1) Victoria Hislop (1) Virginia Morell (1) Voltaire (1) Zora Neale Hurston (1)

Bookserk Globally

Bookserk by Publishing House

Harper Perennial Publishing (8) Random House Publishing (7) Crown Publishing (6) Little Brown and Company Publishing (6) Harper Publishing (4) Knopf Publishing (4) Scholastic Press Publishing (4) Vintage Publishing (4) W.W. Norton Company Publishing (4) Anchor Publishing (3) Atria Books Publishing (3) Free Press Publishing (3) HarperCollins Publishing (3) Penguin Books Publishing (3) Riverhead Books Publishing (3) Ballantine Books Publishing (2) Bantam Books Publishing (2) BarnesNoble Classics Publishing (2) Broadway Publishing (2) Harmony Publishing (2) Harper Paperback Publishing (2) Hyperion Publishing (2) Katherine Tegen Books Publishing (2) Simon and Schuster Publishing (2) William Morrow Publishing (2) Algonquin Books Publishing (1) Amber Allen Publishing (1) Amulet Books Publishing (1) Berkley Trade Publishing (1) Blue Crown Press Publishing (1) Createspace Publishing (1) Crown Business Publishing (1) Del Rey Publishing (1) Dover Publishing (1) Ember Publishing (1) Faber and Faber Publishing (1) Farrar Straus Giroux Publications (1) Feiwel Friends Publishing (1) Five Rivers Chapmanry Publishing (1) Gallery Books Publishing (1) Grand Central Publishing (1) HarperOne (1) Hill and Wang Publishing (1) Hogarth Publishing (1) It Books Publication (1) MJF Books Publishing (1) MTV books and Pocket Books Publishing (1) McGraw Hill Higher Education Publishing (1) Nelson Publishing (1) Pamela Dorman Books Publishing (1) Pantheon Publishing (1) Plaza Y Janes Publishing (1) Plume Publishing (1) Pocket Publishing (1) Puffin Publishing (1) Quill Publishing (1) Reagan Arthur Books Publishing (1) Science Bookshelf Publishing (1) Signet Classics Publishing (1) St. Martin's Press Publishing (1) Touchstone Publishing (1) Virago Publishing (1) Washington Square Press Publishing (1)