Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Why I hate Paulo Coelho

If you have ever met me in person you should know that I am a milliant Paulo Coelho hater. What is it about Paulo Coelho that evokes such strong emotions from within me? The simple answer is I hate Paulo Coelho because he is a bad writer. While this is true, it doesn't quite explain the repulsion. There are after all hundreds of bad writers – see Dan Brown, Nora Roberts or Danielle Steel – yet I let them be.

I didn't fully understand why either until I became familiar with the concept 'literary fiction'. I used to be put in a very awkward position when people asked what kind of books I read; thrillers or romance novels, or crime stories. And I would always say something along these lines:
"Well, I don't really read genre books so much, I read the, you know, proper books, like, er...good
books".

Suddenly I’m walking on thin ice .

Now I can just say 'literary fiction' and avoid the risk of offending people. Yes, I might sound a little pretentious but people would just assume I am more into a lack of plot and that would be that.

What does this all have to do with Paulo Coelho? Well, I have realised the problem I have with Paulo Coelho is that he pretends to be literary fiction. Whereas Danielle Steel or Dan Brown resigned themselves to provide us with mindless entertainment and are free of any pretences that they give us anything more than that, Coelho is duping us into believing that he is revealing some great philosophical truths.

People with no literary education read things like „One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” or "Waiting hurts. Forgetting hurts. But not knowing which decision to take is the worst of suffering." and convince themselves that they are dealing with a literary genius.

Then they go and say that Paulo Coelho changed their lives, that The Alchemist is the most important book they have read. And I can't listen to this because it is hurting my ears. I try to fight and say that Coelho just took some Hallmark cards and some well known fables, mixed them together thus produced a bastard offspring that he brazenly called literature. And then they say I just didn't understand it!

How can you NOT understand Coelho? His books are as complicated as shoelaces. Anyone above the age of three should be able to get them.

Then I say "So you believe that 'when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve
it?'"

"Well, let me break this down to you - it's bollocks."

57 comments:

  1. Ha, I told him/noticed that on twitter. He doesn't make the most inclusive and well worded universal truths. I've never read one of his books, but I want to read The Alchemist just to see where I would stand on his writing. I'm looking forward to you critiquing my book just as hard. You'll be one of the 1st people I ask for feedback.

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  2. actually his name is Paulo to be correct...

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  3. AH, you 're right. It is indeed.

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  4. I 've changed it now. I was obviously blinded by hatred.

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  5. hehe. I understand as I'm not a fan either. I don't feel such a passionate hate towards him, though..

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  6. puk, puk
    pisz bo się czyta;)

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  7. Finally, someone that agrees withhow I feel about this so called writer..please

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  8. Warrior of the Light should be read with a sick bucket to hand. Not believing he could have written anything worse, and isolated and alone and having read everything else in the house...I started The Zahir...another bucket please...it seems autobiographical....I'm so pleased I found this website...his publishers have so cornered google that I needed to know I was not the only one who felt such revulsion. I only managed half the Zahir. Maybe it gets better. Maybe his plane crashes in the jungle and he gets eaten by cannibal pygmies. I will never know but would be a good ending.

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  9. Hi Celeste!

    Thank you for your comment.

    I have clearly abandonded this blog now. But please find me at : http://kinga-thebooksnob.blogspot.com :)

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  10. I've read "the alchemist" upon a praise by a friend... I wanted to throw the book in Coelho's false positivist head...

    The man is essentially telling people to lie to themselves.

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  11. I think he is proving in all the books to be a coward and a very selfish one that only wants attention all the time and that half his stupid stories are invented and intented to make us believe he is really going through these journeys, he is always in need of attention and acceptance. Like in his last book, he did let girl die 500 years ago because he was a coward, he also let her die this time after he played with her poor head. I love you like a river, such BS!!!!!!!!!!! I'm furious!

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  12. Hahaha! Love it. SO glad to see I'm not the only one who hates The Alchemist! I'm 14 and had to read the book for school and everyone's all like "ooh this changed my life" and all I could think of is how terribly written it was and dumb and pretentious the whole thing was. If I had to read "Personal Legend" or "Language of the World" one more time I was going to throw the book in the fireplace. All the new age crap is weird too. I mean sure, follow your dreams. But is the universe going to conspire to make your dreams come true? And did we need a whole book to tell us this? Thanks for letting me vent!

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    1. More people should be like you.

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  13. StephenKingistheonlyKing12 February 2012 at 02:49

    I loathe you, Mr Coelho. I really do.

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    1. You're in good company.

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  14. And yet.....someone,somewhere in the world has been touched by his work.

    I'd rather read a book that is trying to 'teach' me something, than a book that was written with pretentious critics and awards in mind.

    The worst thing about that word 'literary' - worst than what you think about Mr Coelho - is how the marketers have fought to make it represent anything and everything that is 'good' and 'noble' about literature. What makes the quotes in 'The Alchemist' literary or quasi-literary? Is the bible literary? And if so, why?

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  15. The Alchemist it crap , but Veronika decides to die it's good it chaked my opinon about him.

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  16. Replies
    1. Oh really? You must have got that deep statement from a Coelho book. Sorry but some of us have more discerning taste and don't like being lectured to by a philosophical retard.

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  17. I agree, I totally hated the alchemist. Is like a self help book ( i don´t know if that word exist in english) in the format of a novel. And when I told my opinion to people they said that I didn´t understand which made me extremely angry.

    sorry if i don´t write that well, english is not my first language.
    -Felipe

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  18. Perfectly said!

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  19. I actually like Paulo Coelho's books because it doesn't focus and plot and events but how you actually look at them. Reading his books doesn't actually make direct lessons in your life but it makes you see things more clearly. He actually has better books like Eleven minutes and Veronika Decides to Die.

    There's a lot of hate in this page. :(
    And it makes me sad because he changed a lot of things in my life.

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    1. Wow. A clever way of shocking me would be to say something that's actually intelligent.

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  20. Thank you so much for this text! I thought I was crazy as even my clever boyfriend likes the alchimist. But the book, however, is useful for something. It is written not in slow motion but in a kind of slow thinking. So every thought is repeated again and again with other words. It (in various translations) is a great lecture, if you want to read foreign languages you don't speak very well. Also the vocabulary used is amazingly restricted, so you will need no dictionary. Beeing a German that tries to read Greek, I tried the same with Dan Brown, but he is by far more difficult. On the other hand, I think that Coelho, however, has a great benefit in offering stories and ideas to people that do not want to concentrate on books a lot or that like this extrem slowlyness. I think it can comfort you. What changes peoples lives must be this not very clear esoteric world view that puts yourself in the center of the univers and makes everyone of your actions so very important. I am sceptical of all world views but especially of this egocentric one. As the art, however, is composed in the reader's head, I can imagine that some people quite enjoy the books and by reading them improve them a lot. The slowlyness leaves a lot of space for imagination.

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  21. That's true. When I was learning Portuguese I forced myself to read some Coelho and it really was probably the best start.

    I then tried to read Saramago and obviously failed miserably.

    I don't update this blog anymore. Please find me on: http://kinga-thebooksnob.blogspot.com

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  22. That's because Saramago speaks in Portugal Portuguese and Paulo Coelho has a pretty distilled version of Brazilian Portuguese in his books. To be honest with you, I could write better quality books and not shove half-truths and falsely philosophic remarks down people's truths.

    You want a philosopher, go for Khalil Gibran. At least the things he says have substance.

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  23. Why do people hate sooo much especially that kinga guy. Dude be mad at the people who like his work not at him. I think there are a lot of rappers better than lil' Wayne but do I hate him? No. I don't why should I if his just doing his thing and people happen to like him. Now I think his phrase "one is loved because one is loved" is great because it's simple and straight forward and without complicating things so much love is too damn complicated as it is. You don't need big words and a really sophisticated style to be a great writer you arrogant ass yes im talking to you kinga

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    1. LITERATURE is not supposed to be "simple". Literature is supposed to be creative, original; it's purpose is to recreate the author's style. But Coelho's novels achieve none of that. It is a child's book! It is trivial, banal... The man, honestly, has the spirituality of a peanut and the writing skills of Stephenie Meyer.

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  24. The very same thing can be said about the best-selling Thai writer, pen-named Roundfinger.

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  25. "Haters are the confused admirers who cant understand why everybody else like you.About 90% haters are begging for love,
    10% just want the attention." - Paulo Coelho.
    So, 1 : You guys are his admirers.
    2 : Dont beg, just start loving & you will be loved.
    3 : If you want attention do something constructive,good
    deeds.
    4 : Write better books than him & then hate him.Period.

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    1. I kind of like this :) Why go with all the dramatics of hating, and not just appreciate the beauty that's encrypted within the plainness of his words? This is nice.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. His words aren't plain. They are meaningless, unfelt, cliché; ridiculously banal. "Encrypted": he bluntly says all he wants - or, shall I say, he repeats, using worse diction, what other people have already said. "Nice" - how funny.

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  26. I think he's pretty good for kids/young people who are just starting on their intellectual journey. Was for me anyway. But if someone doesn't want to go further than that... Well, pooie Louie. You can't expect everyone to want to be or be able to be as intelligent as you. By that I mean-there are different circles of people who have different views of life and of good literature based on their tastes and intellectual ability. And that can't be changed. Other circles celebrate other writers, ones that are up to your standards. "The Britney Spears of literature" is a pretty good title for him.

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    1. Ill fated intellectual journey will be if you start reading that rubbish. Mine started with Arabian nights and I don´t consider myself Einstein

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  27. And I guess intellectuals hate him so much because to them it seems that the writing doesn't respect the reader, it's condescending because it makes everything super simple. And smartasses hate when their smartness isn't noted.

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  28. Thank you Kinga, spot on!! 100% agree!

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  29. Recommend some 'good books' then...

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    1. I can't recommend 'good books', but I can recommend good books. Check my profile here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/110812-kinga?shelf=read&sort=rating

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    2. The demons by dostoievsky. Decameron. Il desprezio by Moravia. Golden Temple by Mishims. Life, instructions of use by Perec. The infance of Nivasio Dolcemare by Savinio. I can tell about books I have read.

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  30. Lol,everything you said was 100% bullshit.
    But now seriously though,why do you think people would give a damn about such a negative opinion? there are people who enjoy Coelho or at the very last dont go around to tell everybody they're negative opinion about him.Not even worth reading the rest when you put THAT much hate into it.

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    1. First of all, it is not "hate". It is facts.
      Secondly, just the fact that you mixed up "their" with "they're" proves how intellectually advanced you are.

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  31. I read 5 of his books...all have the same message "live is there, you just need to desire enough whatever you want, and you will get it" He repeats that message over and over again with different stories. Mediocrity as best but mediocrity sells. Maybe because masses of people are not really interested in real literate work. On Facebook , you see hundred of people posting his "wise quotes" as the ultimatum way of living, if you analyze those phrases, they are either copies of other people's quotes transformed in a more lame language or they are just simple grandma phrases that we all learned while growing up, nothing mystical or mysterious much less wise or worthy.

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    1. Exactly what I was thinking about. The same messages are transformed in all of his books.I'm reading The zahir and I've got bored in the last chapters.though his writing is clear,simple and informal,he lacks creativity and doesn't make the reader to travel and imagine.I only dislike him for the bordem he made me feel and his poor style and language.

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  32. @Celeste I feel what you have been through man. I have just finished that piece of crap called zahir. I had to finish it coz once I start a book I have to read till the end. But on the other hand this made me see how populism takes over the talent. This kind of bullshit could not have sold that much had the people realized that popularisim does not guarantee talent. I saw his tweets too and it is totally ridiculous how he keeps interacting with his "fans" there. I read the alquimist too and ot is totally overrated. I have one of his kind in my county called Elif Safak, I am happy for you guys she didnt go global...

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  33. I totally agree.All he writes is pretentious,super cliched pseudo philosophical crap.how he is revered by many as a great writer of 'beautiful things' is beyound me.

    PS:The only thing the universe has conspired so far is making paulo famous.

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  34. Omg I'm glad I´m not the only one who thinks he just sucks. I find him so cheesy and corny, all their characters from all of his books have no consistency, whether is a kid or an old or a young person talking, they all talk like super wise old people, that doesn´t make any sense!, when you create characters there is a whole world behind them, and their thoughts and dialogues are consistent to their personality, but that's not the case in coelho´s books, their characters only exist to say its famous quotes, it´s like reading a book of self-helf quotes compelled in a dumb story line with unconsistent carachters. And then there´s all the romanticism, I'm a woman, but he is excessively romantic and way too corny it makes me wanna throw up. Anyway, he just sucks, and I´m sorry If I had spelling error, english is not my first language.

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  35. I wonder what would happen if one of Coelho´s fan that so upset are in this comments would read some proper literary art, like, say, El Quixote?? They would need to go to Emergencies I supose. If Coelho was the wise man he is suposed to be (by his fans) the first thing he would do is stop writing. And the next one go voluntarily to jail. As father would say"Bollocks anyway"

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  36. I donot understand how someone can hate Paulo coelho.. There are only a few writers i admire so much ( Khalid Hosseini, Jeffrey Archer)

    i think that the problem with all the haters is that they do not understand what he writes about. he writes about life, and has given millions of people hope to live , who are you to take that away from his fans? who are you to criticize a man who gives people hope?

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    1. Because his job is to write. He is a writer. He writes "literature". He gets paid for "literature". IT IS NOT LITERATURE. HE DOES NOT WRITE, HE EXPANDS A TEENAGER'S NOTES. How humiliating to the human race

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  37. When I read 'His books are as complicated as shoelaces. Anyone above the age of three should be able to get them.' I literally laughed out loud, because I read two of his books when I was 7. Then, I read them again a few months ago. Both times I fully understood and hated them.

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  38. I think those who dislike Coelho and his works are those who want concrete answers. I have read two of his books- The Alchemist (which encouraged me to read another book written by him) and Aleph. The Alchemist is book that reminds us of the things we already know in an expanded manner. The fact that famous people like Will Smith and Pharell Williams (consider their elite status now) benefited from the book is a proof that the book is not complete bullshit. I love The Alchemist and I am not embarrassed to say this- IT CONTINUALLY CHANGES MY LIFE. Aleph, on the other hand, somewhat roots from The Alchemist (since it mentioned a line from the latter). Nevertheless, Aleph provided new insights not mentioned in The Alchemist. I do not hate his haters because I think that Coelho is simply not the author for you. :)

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  39. I had the chance to meet him in person and I have to say I was so disappointed by his arrogance... I found nothing spiritual about him, and was so disappointed as I actually liked the Alchemist...

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