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Aleph (Vintage International) Paperback – June 26, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“A new tale of magical longing. . . . Masterful.” —San Francisco Chronicle
 “Coelho is a novelist who writes in a universal language.” —The New York Times

“It’s time for American readers to set out on a journey of discovery that will lead them to the works of this exceptional writer.” —USA Today
“[Coelho’s] books have had a life-enhancing effect on millions of people.” —The Times (London)
“Spiritualists and wanderlusts will eagerly devour The Alchemist author’s fiery diatribes about love, fear, and the search for all things meaningful.” —The Washington Post 
Aleph is a book written by the soul, and for the soul. At once tender and fiercely courageous, it challenges you with an embrace while seducing you with a discerning blade that points directly at the heart of what matters most in life and death. And when you have finished the last word on the last page, even if your logical mind doesn’t completely understand all that you’ve read, your eternal spirit will be dancing with joy.” —Cecilia Samartin, author of Broken Paradise
“Vivid, captivating. . . . So engaging that readers will not want to put it down for even a fraction of a second. As the author sets out on his journey, the reader gets the sense that, he too, is embarking on the same voyage.” —The International Herald Tribune
“[A] chimerical tale. . . . There’s no better author to serve such a work than Coelho.” —Publishers Weekly
“Enigmatic. . . . An illuminating book.” —The National
“Borges set the standard that Coelho capably upholds. . . . Coelho the writer is both discerning and revealing of Coelho the protagonist, whose enthusiasms we share.” —The Washington Independent Review

About the Author

Paulo Coelho is the author of many international best sellers, including The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes, and The Pilgrimage. His books have sold more than 130 million copies in 160 countries and have been translated into 72 languages. In 2007, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307744574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307744579
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, he soon discovered his vocation for writing. He worked as a director, theater actor, songwriter and journalist. His collaboration with Brazilian composer and singer Raúl Seixas gave some of the greatest classic rock songs in Brazil. In 1986, a special meeting led him to make the pilgrimage to Saint James Compostela (in Spain). The Road to Santiago was not only a common pilgrimage but a turning point in his existence. A year later, he wrote 'The Pilgrimage', an autobiographical novel that is considered the beginning of his career.

In the following year, COELHO published 'The Alchemist'. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time.

Other titles include 'Brida' (1990), 'The Valkyries' (1992), 'By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept' (1994), the collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo entitle 'Maktub' (1994), the compilation of texts 'Phrases' (1995), 'The Fifth Mountain' (1996), 'Manual of a Warrior of Light' (1997), 'Veronika decides to die' (1998), 'The Devil and Miss Prym' (2000), the compilation of traditional tales in 'Stories for parents, children and grandchildren' (2001), 'Eleven Minutes' (2003), 'The Zahir' (2005), 'Like the Flowing River' (2006), 'The Witch of Portobello' (2006), 'The Winner Stands Alone' (2008), 'Aleph' (2010), 'Manuscript found in Accra' (2012) and 'Adultery' (2014).

He has received numerous prestigious international awards. He is member of the Academy of Letters of Brazil since 2002 and Messenger of Peace by the United Nations since 2007. In 2009 he received the Guinness World Record for the most translated author for the same book (The Alchemist).

The man behind the author likes to write and practices Kyudo - a meditative archery. He loves reading, walking, football and computers. In that sense, he has always maintained a close contact with his readers but now, and thanks to the new media, he has established an incredible feedback with them. Paulo was the second most influential celebrity on Twitter in 2010 according to Forbes and he is the writer with the highest number of followers in the social media.

In the past years Paulo Coelho has expanded his presence in the internet with his daily blogs in Wordpress (, Facebook (, Twitter ( & Instagram (, among others. He is equally present in media sharing sites such as Youtube ( and Flickr ( , offering on a regular basis not only texts but also videos and pictures to his readers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Brendon Burchard on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Reading Paulo's book is such a magical experience. This book will truly open doors to self-discovery that you didn't know existed. Many people around the world can relate with how Paulo felt at the beginning of this book: successful but unhappy, trapped in routine and the vice of solitude, disconnected from inspiration and the Divine.

From this starting point, Paulo takes a life-changing journey across the trans-Siberian railway and discovers a magic that can only be described the moment you finish reading this wonderful book. The "aleph" is a moment in which all time and space is condensed into singularity, what some would call presence, and everyone must learn to find this magical space - ALEPH holds the key to that doorway.

ALEPH is one of my favorite books of all time. Some quotes:

"Go and reconquer your kingdom, which has grown corrupted by routine."

"To live is to experience things, not sit around pondering the meaning of life."

"Travel is never a matter of money but of courage."

"I remember the many occasions on which help has come from precisely those people whom I though had nothing to add to my life."

"When faced by any loss, there's no point in trying to recover what has been; it's best to take advantage of the large space that opens up before us and fill it with something new."

"Hell is when we look back during that fraction of a second [at the end of life] and know that we wasted an opportunity to dignify the miracle of life. Paradise is being able to say at that moment: I made some mistakes but I wasn't a coward. I lived my life and did what I had to do."

"That is what marks out the warrior: the knowledge that willpower and courage are not the same things.
Read more ›
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Michaels on October 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I loved the Alchemist and recommend it to everyone who is interested in spiritual and personal development. But I have to confess, I finished reading Aleph shaking my head in confusion. Maybe, I'm just not enlightened enough to be reading this book.

I believe our past influences our future. I believe in "signs" and fate. I believe in self-discovery. This book though was way beyond my grasp - way over my head.

On the positive side: Paulo Coelho is an excellent writer and knows how to weave a beautiful story. His writing allows us to picture exactly what he is describing it - the buildings, the cold wind, the swaying train.

The bottom line for me: I just couldn't get into this book.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Sally Walker on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
During this incredible journey, Coelho, like in The Alchemist,
discovers that it sometimes is necessary to travel far in order
to understand what is near. Friendship, love, faith and loss
are never far away.
Coelho reminds us that we all travel in our dreams.
I truly recomend reading Aleph to everyone!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Simon Thomas on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Paulo Coelho is most famous for his über-bestseller "The Alchemist," which has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold over 65 million copies--and for good reason. The inspirational allegory about a young boy finding the Philosopher's Stone and his " Personal Legend" is a favorite book of many including this reviewer.

So I was very excited to read Coelho's autobiographical, newly released "Aleph." With a title like "Aleph," a word used in the Jewish tradition of Kabbalah and the title of a mystical short story by another Latin American writer, Jorge Luis Borges, I wondered if Coelho's new book would be allegorical too and steeped in mysticism.

Instead, it is a very down-to-earth and insightful recounting of Coelho's own quest for meaning, the mystical in his own life, and the fulfillment of his Personal Legend. It is surprising that a man who could write a book that brought inspiration to so many was himself in such need of insight.

It begins at his home in the hamlet of Saint Martin in the French Pyrenees, in the midst of a midlife, spiritual crisis. His life is deluged with routine, what St. John of the Cross referred to as the "dark night of the soul." His teacher suggests that he go on a journey to reconnect with himself and the present, and "reconquer his Kingdom," just as Homer's Odysseus did thousands of years before.

Read the rest of my review published here: [...]
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Although an international acclaimed author, Paulo faces a spiritual crisis. He tells his Tradition guide J. that he believes his journeys are over as he can no longer grow. J. suggests he get out on a rejuvenation tour to meet people that will lead him to the Aleph where time is a constant sameness and force him away from dwelling on his previous lives. Reluctantly at first he visits six countries which energize Paulo for the first time in awhile.

Two months into his pilgrimage, Paulo is scheduled to ride the Trans-Siberian railway between Moscow to Vladivostok; making stops on his book tour of Russia. At his hotel in Moscow, Hilel the violinist introduces herself to him before leaving. The next day at his book singing, she is back. Paulo denies knowing who she is but both know he is lying. During the Inquisition in previous lives, they shared the Aleph, but he cowardly betrayed her. He believes his actions towards her are why he cannot grow anymore. As they reconnect, each knows they need to forgive before they can bravely embrace their love and move closer to happiness in and out of the mystical Aleph.

Aleph is not an easy read as the protagonist, the woman he loves in their different lives and his guide tends to use metaphoric transcendentalist talk. The key cast is fully developed in the present arc and so are the glimpses into their past lives especially the inquisition incident. Those readers who appreciate something radically different will enjoy the journeys of Paulo and Hilel to try to cleanse their past if they want a happy future; but in 2006 Russia history seems on the verge of repeating what happened five centuries ago.

Harriet Klausner
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