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by Paulo Coelho

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Transform your life. Rewrite your destiny.

In his most personal novel to date, internationally best-selling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual renewal and growth, he decides to…  See more details below


Transform your life. Rewrite your destiny.

In his most personal novel to date, internationally best-selling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual renewal and growth, he decides to begin again: to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the landscapes around him.

Setting off to Africa, and then to Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian Railway, he initiates a journey to revitalize his energy and passion. Even so, he never expects to meet Hilal. A gifted young violinist, she is the woman Paulo loved five hundred years before—and the woman he betrayed in an act of cowardice so far-reaching that it prevents him from finding real happiness in this life. Together they will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, traveling a path that teaches love, forgiveness, and the courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. Beautiful and inspiring, Aleph invites us to consider the meaning of our own personal journeys: Are we where we want to be, doing what we want to do?

Some books are read. Aleph is lived.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Paulo Coelho's fable of spiritual self-discovery has touched readers in several languages.

Amanda Schilling

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Random House
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Read an Excerpt

"Remember the Aleph. Remember what you felt at that moment. Try to bring into this sacred place something that you don't know but that is  there in your heart. If necessary, think of a favorite symphony and let it guide yo to where you need to go. That's all that matters now. Words, explanations, and questions won't help; they'll only confuse something that is already quite complex enough. Forgive me, but let that forgiveness come from the depths of your soul, the same soul that passes from one body to another and learns as it travels through nonexistent time and infinite space.

“We can never wound the soul, just as we can never wound God, but we can become imprisoned by our memories, and that makes our lives wretched even when we have everything we need in order to be happy. If only we could be entirely here, as if we had just woken up on planet Earth and found ourselves inside a golden temple, but we can’t.”

“I don’t see why I should forgive the man I love. Or perhaps only for one thing, for never having heard those same words on his lips.” A smell of incense begins to waft toward us. The priests are coming in for morning prayers.

“Forget who you are now and go to the place where the person you always were is waiting. There you will find the right words, and then you can forgive me.”

Hilal seeks inspiration in the gilded walls, the pillars, the people entering the church at this early hour, the fl ames of the lit candles. She closes her eyes, possibly following my suggestion and imagining some music.

“You won’t believe this, but I think I can see a girl, a girl who isn’t here anymore but who wants to come back . . .”

I ask her to listen to what the girl has to say.

“The girl forgives you, not because she has become a saint but because she can no longer bear to carry this burden of hatred. Hating is very wearisome. I don’t know if something is changing in Heaven or on Earth, or if my soul is being damned or saved, but I feel utterly exhausted, and only now do I understand why. I forgive the man who tried to destroy me when I was ten years old. He knew what he was doing, and I did not. But I felt that it was my fault, and I hated him and myself. I hated everyone who came near me, but now my soul is being set free.”

This isn’t what I was expecting.

“Forgive everything and everyone, but forgive me, too,”

I ask her. “Include me in your forgiveness.”

“I forgive everything and everyone, including you, even though I don’t know what crime you have committed. I forgive you because I love you and because you don’t love me. I forgive you because you help me to stay close to my Devil, even though I haven’t thought of him for years. I forgive you because you reject me and my powers are wasted, and I forgive you because you don’t understand who I am or what I’m doing here. I forgive you and the Devil who touched my body before I even knew what life was about. He touched my body but distorted my soul.”

She puts her hands together in prayer. I would have liked her forgiveness to have been exclusively for me, but Hilal is redeeming her whole world, and perhaps that is better. Her body starts to tremble. Her eyes fill with tears.

“Must it be here, in a church? Let’s go outside into the open air. Please!”

“No, it has to be in a church. One day we’ll do the same thing outside, but today it has to be in a church. Please, forgive me.”

She closes her eyes and holds her hands aloft. A woman coming into the church sees this gesture and shakes her head disapprovingly. We are in a sacred place; the rituals are different here, and we should respect the traditions. I pretend not to notice, and feel relieved because Hilal, I realize, is talking with the Spirit who dictates prayers and the true laws, and nothing in the world will distract her now.

“I free myself from hatred through forgiveness and love. I understand that suffering, when it cannot be avoided, is here to help me on my way to glory. I understand that everything is connected, that all roads meet, and that all rivers flow into the same sea. That is why I am, at this moment, an instrument of forgiveness, forgiveness for crimes that were committed; one crime I know about, the other I do not.”

Yes, a spirit was talking to her. I knew that spirit and that prayer, which I had learned many years ago in Brazil. It was spoken by a little boy then, not a girl. But Hilal was repeating the words that were in the Cosmos, waiting to be used when necessary.

Hilal is speaking softly, but the acoustics in the church are so perfect that everything she says seems to reach every corner.

“I forgive the tears I was made to shed,
I forgive the pain and the disappointments,
I forgive the betrayals and the lies,
I forgive the slanders and intrigues,
I forgive the hatred and the persecution,
I forgive the blows that hurt me,
I forgive the wrecked dreams,
I forgive the stillborn hopes,
I forgive the hostility and jealousy,
I forgive the indifference and ill will,
I forgive the injustice carried out in the name of justice,
I forgive the anger and the cruelty,
I forgive the neglect and the contempt,
I forgive the world and all its evils.”

She lowers her arms, opens her eyes, and puts her hands to her face. I go over to embrace her, but she stops me with a gesture.
“I haven’t finished yet.”

She closes her eyes again and raises her face heavenward.

“I also forgive myself. May the misfortunes of the past no longer weigh on my heart. Instead of pain and resentment, I choose understanding and compassion. Instead of rebellion, I choose the music from my violin. Instead of grief, I choose forgetting. Instead of vengeance, I choose victory.

“I will be capable of loving, regardless of whether I am loved in return,
Of giving, even when I have nothing,
Of working happily, even in the midst of difficulties,
Of holding out my hand, even when utterly alone and abandoned,
Of drying my tears, even while I weep,
Of believing, even when no one believes in me.”

She opens her eyes, places her hands on my head, and says with an authority that comes from on high, “So it is. So it will be.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
‘His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people.’THE TIMES‘One of the few to deserve the term Publishing Phenomenon.’INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY‘Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic but his message is what counts…he gives me hope and puts a smile on my face.’DAILY EXPRESS

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Aleph 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
The_Real_Brendon_Burchard More than 1 year ago
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. Courage can attract fear and adulation, but willpower requires patience and commitment." "When a sense of dissatisfaction persists, that means it was placed there by God for one reason only: you need to change everything and move forward." "No life is complete without a touch of madness..." One of Paulo's other books, The Alchemist (which has sold over 65 million copies worldwide), changed my life. With ALEPH, he has done it again. ALEPH is already #1 around the world and deservedly so. Paulo writes with honesty, insight, and that which matters most: love. -- Review by Brendon Burchard, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "The Millionaire Messenger" and "Life's Golden Ticket."
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is so well written that one cannot tell if Paulo has created a fictional masterpiece or related a true biographical out-of-world experience. For those of us who believe in a spiritual life beyond our three dimensional physically present world, Aleph is a remarkably enlightening journey in growth.
inspiremymind More than 1 year ago
This book takes you on a fantastic journey that you never want to end - loved every minute of this book - full of beautiful thoughts and experiences
Jordongdong More than 1 year ago
Learned some things on the way of reading this book. Nothing special but for a strong open minded spiritualist kind of person they will enjoy it very much. The funny thing about this book is it is very in depth with the authors true personality and how he would act in real life and it partially made me not like Paulo as much as I did before I read the book haha. It wasnt a bad thing it just shows what he thinks in a very real, raw way and some things he said or wanted to say I disagreed with..       
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By far one of the best writers on the face of earth, and this book is no exception!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too introspective with very lityle action
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i think book is worth to buy and read... but i am just wondering how much truth is in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highlighted a good amount of sections that I'd like to keep with me and use in my life in order to stay positive. Also, some parts are just really interesting bits of cultures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written tale that keeps the reader engaged
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turtlepower More than 1 year ago
Once again Paulo Coelho does not disappoint. Aleph is a beautifully written glimpse into the author's deepest personal journey.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Were i not already a great fan of coelho and had i not read his other works ... i consider him a poor writer with little to say. Fortunately i have read his work before and so will continue to be a fsn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was far from the quality of writing experienced in The Alchemist.
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