Veronika, like lot of people, is not happy with her life and she decides to die! I din’t pick this one up from Paulo Coelho for a long time just because of the melancholy title. But couldn’t ignore it anymore when I found this in my sister’s mini library! And Coelho has been impressive yet another time!
Veronika, a Slovenian woman of 26, is leading just normal rather mundane life of a librarian. She is young, pretty, independent but she feels her life is going to be same one, two or three decades from now. And she just cannot accept it and decides to put an end to her ordinary life. But fate has something else in store for her and she ends up in a mental hospital and is told that she only has about a week more to live.
This is when she realises and observes so many things which just went unnoticed for so many years. She meets various people in the hospital who are there for different reasons. After a while she feels that the best part of being considered as a mad person is that you can do anything and everything you want, which the people out there in so-called normal people can’t do! You are not answerable for anything. Lot of people, inspite of being cured, wish to continue their stay in the hospital for this very reason. How ironic!! While there were others who are not accepted in the world again by normal people and hence left with no choice but to live there! Either ways, Villette seemed like a more livable place while I was reading the book.
For me, it turned out to be more like a self help book which is not written just as a sermon but rather realizations by real people. I was really immersed in the world of all the characters and their respective stories and could not put it down for long. Feelings of desire, hope and fear are highlighted beautifully in stories of Zedka, Mari and Eduard. It’s not very fanciful, yet comforting in its own way! It’s simplistic writing makes it a brilliant read.I would surely want to re-read it after sometime to discover new things or perceive things in a different way! It surely is a recommendation and is definitely one of the best reads from this year for me.
Few of the many amazing lines from the book:
I loved this story from the book:
“Once upon a time, powerful wizard, who wanted to destroy an entire kingdom, placed a magic potion in the well from which the inhabitants drank. Whoever drank that water would go mad.
The following morning, the whole population drank from the well and they all went mad, apart from the king and his family, who had a well set aside for them alone, which the magician had not managed to poison. The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. The policemen and the inspectors, however, had also drunk the poisoned water, and they thought the king’s decisions were absurd and resolved to take notice of them.
When the inhabitants of the kingdom heard these decrees, they became convinced that the king had gone mad and was now giving nonsensical orders. The marched on the castle and called for his abdication.
In despair the king prepared to step down from the throne, but the queen stopped him, saying: ‘Let us go and drink from the communal well. Then we will be the same as them.’
And that was what they did: The king and queen drank the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense. Their subjects repented at once; now that the king was displaying such ‘wisdom’, why not allow him to rule the country?
The country continued to live in peace, although its inhabitants behaved very differently from those of its neighbors. And the king was able to govern until the end of his days.”
“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.”
“Be crazy! But learn how to be crazy without being the center of attention. Be brave enough to live different.”
“Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern that merely contains.”
“I want to continue being crazy; living my life the way I dream it, and not the way the other people want it to be.”
“Collective madness is called sanity.”
“The happier people can be, the unhappier they are.”
“Life is always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.”
“We’re allowed to make a lot of mistakes in our lives, except the mistake that destroy us”
“Normality is merely a matter of consensus; that is, a lot of people think something is right, and so that thing becomes right.”
“Real love changes and grows with time and discovers new ways of expressing itself.”
“Each human being is unique, each with their own qualities, instincts, forms of pleasure, and desire for adventure. However, society always imposes on us a collective way of behaving, and people never stop to wonder why they should behave like that. They just accept it…You’re someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that, in my view, is a serious illness”