In every novel, Paulo Coelho demonstrates not only his charismatic storytelling but also his insight into what human beings experience in a world full of miracles. In
“Veronica Decides to Die”, Veronica’s immense psychological struggle with the subtle dilemma encompasses the core theme of the novel- the fear of death leading to awareness of life. Here the novelist, portrays the consequences of a young woman’s vain attempt to suicide. His mastery lies in the unfolding of the three perpetual themes: conformity, insanity and ultimately demise.
Beauty, love, happiness have not denied to come to Veronica. She has a number of lovers with whom she goes to the extreme in relationship. The novel opens with Veronica’s vain attempt to suicide and regaining consciousness in Vilette, the mental hospital of Slovenia. Vilette is the asylum symbolizing protection, where one is shielded from the dangers of the society. A web of mystery shrouded her very existence. The physician Dr Igor, broke the silence by declaring that death had decided to spare her for few more days. Her disappointment at having survived from her suicide attempt is blatant.
Veronica decides the rest of her life to be a blend of disillusionment and monotony and promises never to leave Vilette alive. Vilette’s head psychiatrist tries out an unusual yet provocative experiment. Can you “shock” someone into craving to live by convincing her that death is impending? This verdict changes Veronica’s insight of life and death in the truest sense.
The world of lunatics teaches her to express certain emotions she has never allowed herself to feel: hate and love, anger and joy and disgust and pleasure. She delves deep into the lives of other patients who enjoy oddly satisfying lives.
A novel that begins with a reflection of conformity and madness ends with a discovery of the sudden choices we make between living and dying.
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