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When Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) was a young man, his parents had him committed to mental hospitals three times because he wanted to be an artist--an unacceptable profession in Brazil at the time. During his numerous forced incarcerations he vowed to write some day about his experiences and the injustices of involuntary commitment. In this fable-like novel, Coelho makes good on his promise, with the creation of a fictional character named Veronika who decides to kill herself when faced with all that is wrong with the world and how powerless she feels to change anything. Although she survives her initial suicide attempt, she is committed to a mental hospital where she begins to wrestle with the meaning of mental illness and whether forced drugging should be inflicted on patients who don't fit into the narrow definition of "normal." The strength and tragedy of Veronika's fictional story was instrumental in passing new government regulations in Brazil that have made it more difficult to have a person involuntarily committed. Like any great storyteller, Coelho has used the realm of fiction to magically infiltrate and alter the realm of reality. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The bestselling Brazilian author of The Alchemist delicately etches this morose but ultimately uplifting story of the suicidal Veronika, who creeps along the boundary between life and death, sanity and madness, happiness and despair. Veronika, 24, works in a library in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and rents a room in a convent; she is an attractive woman with friends and family, but feelings of powerlessness and apathy tempt her to find "freedom" in an overdose of sleeping pills. When Veronika awakens in the purgatory of Villete, the country's famous lunatic asylum, she is told her suicide attempt weakened her heart and she has only days to live. At this point, Coelho takes a role in the novel; he describes the circumstances under which he discovered Veronika's story and then recounts his own youthful incarceration in a Brazilian sanatorium, consigned there by parents who couldn't understand his "unusual behavior." As quickly as he drops in, however, he drops out again, relying on interior monologues to set scenes. In a sedative-induced haze, Veronika finds companionship in white-haired Mari, who suffers from panic attacks, and Eduard, an ambassador's son who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and she begins to question the definition of insanity. It is her supposed death sentence from the devious Dr. Igor, who is trying to shock her back into reality, that allows Veronika to reacquire the will to live and love. Employing his trademark blend of religious and philosophical overtones, Coelho focuses on his central question: why do people go on when life seems unfair and fate indifferent? The simple, often banal prose contrasts Veronika's bleak inner landscape with the beautiful contours of Slovenia, gradually culminating in an upbeat ending with the message that each day of life is a miracle. Coelho's latest will appeal to readers who enjoy animated homilies about the worth of human existence.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Paulo Coelho is a remarkable author, telling magical tails that always end with a twist: Veronika Decides to Die is no exception. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Clint Clarkson
It is so inspirational and it deals with an issue that many authors have stayed away from.
Incredible, Incredible read. I would read it over again.
A friend of mine had suggested I read this, and based on the reviews I saw on here it seemed like a good bet. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2011 by Tony (Toronto)
Failing to successfully take her own life, Veronika wakes to discover she is nonetheless dying, with very little time left to her - except that now, she will finally learn to... Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2009 by Why Not
A profound novel revolving around a deceptively simple theme.
I'm not really sure why I'm commenting on this. I guess because this book gave me a few "A HA! Read more
Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, has been awarded France's Legion d'Honneur, Italy's Grinzane Cavour and was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2007 by Craobh Rua
what an amazing novel coming from a guy who reads only when he must (for school). i hate books but i love this one and it started me reading. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2006 by Salar
Is always unfair, to describe the plot of a book, beacause if someone wants to read it, well they don't want to know the spice of the writing, Veronikas decides to die, it's a book... Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by S. Quinto