161 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2000
If you're looking for another Alchemist this is not the right book for you... it is about Mr. Coelho's personal experiences, it is written in the first-person, and it is more spiritual. But its events are so mind-boggling that you can see where the author's inspiration comes from for his literary masterpieces. It gives you a profound respect for Mr. Coelho and his achievements. It is NOT FICTION. It contains "Meditation" exercises at the end of nearly every chapter. The main aim in my opinion of this book is to remind us of the mystery of the world and that not everything is clear to us as humans, but that despite this, it remains our duty to fight for what we believe is right. Most importantly, this is not a self-help book nor does it spoon-feed you theories about life... DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS about its deeper meanings...but read it.
68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2003
This was Coelho's first popular book, and as such denotes his evolving magical style. It is about his trip in the Santiago de COmpostela trek that goes from east to west across Spain. I found the travel perspective of the book to be fascinating, and since I read it I have thought many times about doing the trek myself.
As for the personal revelation the author encounters in the trek, I foudn them interesting, not overwhelming. The lessons learned are presented in many different books aside form this one; what makes this book a little special, I believe, is that the story involves the reader in such a way that the lessons are driven effortlessly.
71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 1998
I have read Brida, the Alchemist, The Valkyries and The Pilgramage which is the most outstanding (all of them are great).I thank Paulo Coelho very much for his messages. Just say, it is worth it to read it, but if you dare to believe, as I do, you can go further, if not, don't worry, it's in no way a boring book. I suggest you to take the Road to Santiago after reading it. This book has made me to change a lot, and I promise, it's being a great change. I strongly recommend this book for those who don't know what to do with their lives or are full of doubts about their future. This book is helping me to find my way and to look at the Road and pay more attention to myself and my inner soul. But it's not just to read it, it needs practice, faith, will and time. I think it pays off, because what really matters in life? what we have in the material world or what we can achieve in the spiritual and psycological world? This book deals with the latter.It's your choice. Good luck!.
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2005
"The Pilgrimage" is the third book I have read by Paulo Coelho, although it was his first. It was first published as "O Diário de um Mago" in 1987, and the first English translation was titled: "The Diary of a Magus" and was published in 1992. This is the tale of Paulo's own personal pilgrimage along the road to Santiago. After failing to earn his sword in his ordination as a Master of the Order of RAM, he is directed to take a pilgrimage to seek his sword there, as well as the wisdom he would need to use it.
Despite being a more personal story, I didn't find it to be nearly as engaging of a narrative as "The Alchemist". Since I read the translations by Alan R. Clarke of both books, I tend to think that perhaps this is due to Coelho's improvement as a writer. That is not to say that this is not an interesting book. "The Pilgrimage" is still a good story, and for those who like Paulo Coelho, it is certainly worth reading.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2007
I read The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho soon after completing my own 800 km pilgrimage from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago in the north-west of Spain.
Readers who are looking for a factual, chronological, "travel book" of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela will be disappointed. There is only the vaguest chronology in the book. A few towns and important pilgrimage sites are mentioned. There is only a sketchy picture drawn of the terrain and countryside.
But that is quite irrelevant. The Pilgrimage is a much more sophisticated account of the psychological and spiritual aspects of pilgrimage. In fact, the physical vagueness in the book complements the inner struggles of the pilgrim.
The pilgrim in Coelho's book is on a quest for his sword so that he can complete his apprenticeship in the Tradition and be able to perform the deeds of his Master. The quest takes place on the road to Santiago and the pilgrim (with his spiritual guide) encounters magical tests that expand his psychological horizons.
This resonated with me in the sense that the Camino finds the weak points in our bodies and characters and tests them. Reflective pilgrims gain personal insights, and, for many, their lives change in significant ways after completing the Camino. Coelho makes the same points by his use of magic to illustrate the inner transformation of his pilgrim.
The book also includes meditative exercises that the pilgrim performed at critical times on his journey. While some of the exercises are a little unrealistic, such as the Cruelty Exercise of self-mortification, most of them can be performed by anyone, with resulting benefit. I wish I had read the book before my own pilgrimage so I could have done more in this respect.
This was Coelho's first book and it shows to a large extent. It is uneven in quality and lacks the tightness of his later work, such as The Alchemist - which it resembles in its basic structure of an individual's quest for meaning.
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2000
I absolutely loved this book. I agree that it is very mystical and that it might turn off some readers, however if people get past that, I think they will enjoy it. As for the criticism, that some reviewers have expressed over Paulo Coelho not finishing the Pilgrimage, I don't think that has any bearing on the book. He is talking of his own spiritual journey. The walk changed his life and I believe that is what he is trying to express in the book. If he inspires people to do the walk, then that is enough praise. I read this book over 5 years ago and am planning to do the walk this year, September of 2000.
43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 1999
I also walked El Camino, and was surprised to know that some (few) Brazilian pilgrims criticize Paulo Coelho's "The Pilgrimage". Every time that I asked if they read the book, they said that they did not. It seems that El Camino was becoming the property of a few choosen ones, and "The Pilgrimage" made it popular all over the world. For me, this is an absolutelly fascinating book, but I understand why some reviews say about whether this is an accurate description of the journey. It is not. It is Paulo Coelho's experience, whether you like it or not. If you don't like, better buy a travel guide or write a book by yourself. And by the way, I believe that Coelho deserved the Golden Medal of Galicia that he received this year.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2003
I first read this book in the summer of 97 on my way back from a trip from Ottawa, I'd found it in the ottawa airport. Two years prior to that, I'd read The Alchemist and never really gave much thought to other books by Paulo Coelho, dispite the lasting and impowering effects The Alchemist had had on me. It had me hooked and only at 16, I was convinced and determined that I was going to walk the Camino. Five years later, last may, I finally achieved it. It was my moby dick, really the only thing I'd ever set my mind to doing. The book inspired me to take a journey of a life time. In doing so, I found so many more journey's I'd never imagined. I highly recommend that you read the book, and once you have, live the Camino for yourself.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2001
i have read many of coelhos works and until 4 weeks ago this was the only one i had not read.the story although lacking in the spirituality that books such as the alchemist i believe that it supplied the reader with a knowledege of coelho and makes us able to understand fully the purpose of his books. the story is simple. a man on a journey to find somthing that means a lot to him.this simplicity is backed up by beautifuly descriptive language and wonderfull imagery which took me into his journey in full. the emotions coelho creates in this book are wonderful too from fear and excitement at paulos fight with the dog to the sadness of paulos dissapointment that when he parts from petrus he has not yet succeded the book is helpful in showing the importance of the smaller things in life and how we should not forget our childhoods and the passions and spirituality they posess. i found the details of his RAM practices wonderful .overall an essential book for any coelho fan.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2001
This is a reprint of one of Coelho's first books published previously as "The Diary of a Magus". As with his other first person books, he weaves between the mundane world of sore feet and the transcendent. In the process he learns more about himself and grows as a person. He provides many meditational exercises that are simple and quite beneficial. Many are variations of ancient meditations found in Christian, Zen and other religious traditions.
Pilgrimage as a spiritual exercise is found in many major religious traditions. It provides a concentrated spiritual experience in which a person is separated from the mundane world of bills, job and family. During that separation the pilgrim undergoes an experience of transformation--a symbolic death and resurrection. At the end of the pilgrimage the pilgrim is returned to the world of the mundane as a "new person", with a deeper understanding of himself/herself and the world in which he/she lives. This classic process of transformation is apparent in Coelho's book. Indeed, an underlying theme of the book is that all of life can be understood as a pilgrimage--a sacred journey of transformation.
I thought the book was excellent. It was a pleasure to follow Coelho on his pilgrimage and to be reminded of the same lessons that were shared with him by his guide on the journey. But then I've read everything of his that I can get ahold of in English translation and like it all.