by Julie HaleJuly 2006
Acclaimed Brazilian author Coelho offers an unforgettable story about love and self-awareness that's international in scope and profound in its exploration of human relationships. The novel's narrator, a successful writer of international renown, resides in Paris. Sophisticated and wealthy, he has it all, until the day his wife Esther disappears. A respected war correspondent who left Iraq and returned to France just before military action began, Esther had been experiencing emotional problems before vanishing from Paris with her friend and possible lover, Mikhail. When the narrator is implicated in their disappearance, he produces an alibi that clears his name, then makes contact with Mikhail, who, without disclosing where Esther is, offers to take him to her. He has no choice but to follow Mikhail, thus embarking on a quest to find his wife a pursuit that completely consumes him. As it turns out, there is more to the search than an attempt to locate Esther and, guided by Mikhail, the narrator soon finds himself on a remarkable spiritual journey with stops in Central Asia and the Middle East. This suspenseful, literate page-turner showcases Coelho's considerable abilities as a writer. There are a staggering 65 million copies of his eight prior novels in print worldwide, and this latest book should win him even more readers. A reading group guide is available at www.harperperennial.com.