By Zena Khoury


The Zahir written by: Paulo Coelho. 298. $13.95


            The Zahir, meaning the visible in Arabic, is a novel that takes us on the narrator’s journey to find his lost wife. Where she went and why she left with no word is the haunting thought that keeps appearing in the novelists words and in the heads of every reader enjoying this intellectual book.

            The author starts by speculating that she had been engaging in an affair and thought this might be her only way out without hurting or confronting him. As his journey continues to lead him down unknown paths, his own ideas of life start leading the way. He comes to understand the true essence of life and the love he shared with his wife. Even though it was not a conventional relationship, each of them having mistresses aside, they or at least he has the most unique love story and intense mutual feelings that had always kept them together; until now.

            That is why her disappearance comes as a shock to the narrator. Esther, his wife, is a war correspondent who had just come back from Iraq a few months before her disappearance. She always had to meet with different people from different walks of life and always knew that her job entailed taking risks and expecting the unexpected, and she love that aspect of it. She loved knowing that she had to appreciate everything she had because she would never know what will happen and that is why she was happy in a relationship where that was also accepted by her husband and they were both free to do whatever they want. Or at least thats what they thought.

            The narrator on the other hand is a best-selling novelist, and he does not hesitate to dig in to his wealth and enjoy the great things that money can buy. He chooses to have the luxury apartment in Paris, th beautiful women he can make love to and never think twice. He thought he had everything he needed until he lost his one and only Esther.

            The narrators journey takes us all over the world and describes every single detail about his journey in his words, giving us the chance to live his every detail and see the amazing opportunities life has to offer. This journey not only helps bring his wife closer to him once again, but it also helps him understand who he really is and how even though he is considered to be very rich materialistically, he would come to realize that spiritually he was no where near that. He starts appreciating the simpler things in life and realizes that Esther appreciated the importance of life because of her encounters with death. And that is exactly what the narrator learns though out his journey to find Esther.

            This book is a great example of a twisted love story and the importance of understanding who one is a person in order to commit to someone or to appreciate the simple but great things that life throws our way. This  finally makes him discover the reason Esther left and where he will be able to find her.



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