The Zahir (Coelho) Characters

The Zahir (Coelho) Character List

The Narrator

The narrator, a best selling novelist is the protagonist of the story. His wife of ten years has left, leading him to question his entire life. He begins a journey to find his wife and in the process realizes that to find her he must find himself. As a young man, he rebelled against his parents and traveled around the world before becoming a lyricist and finally a novelist. Throughout the novel, it is seen that he takes his freedom very seriously which is what led him to have three wives before Esther and a lover, Marie, when Esther goes missing. Towards the end of the novel, he is successful in finding Esther and himself.


Esther is the wife of the narrator who goes missing. She is a war correspondent, thirty-three years old, married and without children. Moreover, Esther is smart, calm, and courageous in her actions. She loves a person without humbling herself and this is what draws the narrator to her. She encouraged her husband to go to Santiago and write and discover the literary genius within him. For an entire year, she becomes the narrator's blinding obsession, the Zahir. He finds her in the steppes of Kazakhstan making carpets and pregnant.


He is described as a male with dark, Mongolian features between twenty-three and twenty-five years of age. He is Esther's translator and was the last person to be seen with her. The narrator suspects that his wife has an affair with him. A year after Esther goes missing he approaches the narrator at a book signing and tells him that she is alive and making carpets. He spends time with the narrator and when he feels like the narrator is ready, takes him to see Esther.


She is a thirty-five year old French actress whom the narrator falls in love with after Esther goes missing. She understands the narrator and is genuinely pleased with his success because she too is a celebrity. The narrator breaks up with her before he goes to find Esther.

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