Dear friends, Please do not think I am a fan of Paul Coelho ! When Sudhavnarasimhan mentioned about the subject of this book in her reply to my review of " eleven minutes", I did feel compelled to read the book. It is the standard favourite topic of a woman & so, here, my review goes ! This is yet another intriguing novel from Paul Coelho. The subject is the eternally favourite one – the mystery of the relationship between a husband & wife. When Esther, his wife suddenly disappears without notice he realises that the woman whom he had married was excited about life, full of ideas & joy & desires, & he had made her rapidly turn into a housewife.( does not everyone of us identify here ?) He never showed any interest in Esther’s world which included Mikhail & beggars ! He did’nt show any interest when she wanted to become a war correspondent . . But after she disappears he realises his inability to keep the woman he loved by his side & wonders whether to find her & persuade her to come back is worth it ! He wants to believe that it is wonderful to be free but suddenly he also realises that freedom is to be wretchedly alone . He cannot bear to think of her as his ex-wife ! He chooses to live with his girlfriend Marie. Zahir in Arabic means something which cannot go unnoticed & once we come into contact with it, grows into magnificent proportions in our thoughts. To free ourselves from that is next to impossible. He sees Esther, the Zahir in his inner cathedral. She fills everything. For the first time in his entire existence he realises that he loves another human being more than he loves himself. Life goes on…. His book “ a time to rend & a time to sew “becomes a best seller. ... Then he meets Mikhail & his life starts changing ! He pretends that he does not want to know about Esther, but realises he is deceiving himself. He is shocked when he learns that his ex-wife ( he hates to use this term) is making carpets & giving French lessons. Mikhail tells him that if he decides to go & find her, he must find her soul also! His obsession to meet Esther only goes on increasing. Then he meets with an accident. After the accident, the loving destructive obsession vanishes . He feels that he is reborn.He realises that one must continue walking the road in life, to discard any unnecessary baggage, to keep only what you need in order to live each day & to allow the energy of love to flow freely, from the outside in & from the inside out He realises that he had to lose her in order to understand, that the taste of things recovered is the sweetest honey he will ever know. He goes & meets her & realises that love is a disease no one wants to get rid of ! They find together love again & it is a happpy ending. The author makes it clear that in our life it is so important to let certain things go, to release them, to cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win & sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is, it no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house , get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were & become who you are. Love is a disease no one wants to get rid of.Those who catch it never try to get better & those who suffer do not wish to be cured. This is one book which one should read slowly, savour & then read further ! Love & regards, Chithra.