November 29, 2010

Review of novel ‘THE VALKYRIES’, authored by Paulo Coelho

--Reviewed by M.Tariq Rasheed Qamar, Pakistan

Some as his other books, Paulo’s this book also carries the spiritual adventure of courage, journey, struggle, hope and God’s love. The author talks of Christianity, spirituality, magic and he describes his marooning with his wife Chris in the desert for talking to his guardian angel and he meets a boy ‘Gene’, and a bunch of wayward women of some magic tradition, the Walkyries. He speaks of guardian angel protecting and guiding one by using the third person. He talks about Valkyries’ rituals exhibiting the human emotions and hatred, and his getting rid of his bad past memories.

Plus Points (Passages that inspired me)

Few passages from this novel are really inspiring and leading the reader’s attentions to the thoughts or elevation, spirituality and hope. Such elevated thoughts are similar to some thoughts from Islamic Sufism. I quote some of the lines from book below.

“Have courage.” Valhalla’s voice rang out clearly and strongly. “Open your heart, and listen to what your dreams tell you. Follow those dreams, because only a person who is not ashamed can manifest the glory of God.” P.138

“Well, meet your obligations. But obligations never prevented anyone from following their dreams. Remember that you are a manifestation of the absolute, and do only those things in your lives that are worth the effort. Only those who do that will understand the great transformations that are yet to be seen.” P.139

“that’s why people talk with their angels. Because only the angels know the best path. It does no good to seek advice about it from others.” P.142

He angel said that all the world needed was an example. People who were capable of following their dreams and of fighting for their ideas. P.158

A magus whose world is governed by laws I don’t even know –a person who feels he is alive only when he is facing challenges.” P.205

Negative Points:

Though this book seems inspired by Catholic Christianity teachings, but some ideas also come under sight are not only nothing to do with popular Christian teachings (according to my knowledge), but also are absurd and out of place (at least, nothing to do with Islamic Spirituality). For example, the story is told there about a Christian saint Maria so-called Egipciaca who surrendered her body to a boatman, in order to get to Jerusalem. Another example is that of the novel’s character Valhalla, who is described, twice a week going to casinos, becoming the lover of wealthy men, and thus being able to put together some money. Similarly another character, the Valkyries, are said to be the warriors of light and were meant for spreading the word of Christianity, are also described traveling to different desert towns and making love with men they coming across on way. Through these nasty ideas, the author seems legitimizing the prostitution for the cause of religion and the promiscuous sexual relations. The author’s such slip of pen, I believe, to be a mistake and inappropriate. So on this basis; I will give some negative points to this book too.