The Zahir (Coelho) Irony

The Zahir (Coelho) Irony

At least this whole episode has gained me another reader.

The narrator has just been released by the police after his wife mysteriously disappeared. It is only due to a witness by a woman he was seeing out of his marriage that he is able to avoid prison. He claims to be incredibly in love with his wife and can’t think of a single reason why she would leave him. It also leaves his distraught that she wasn’t happy with him. Yet, he finds solace in the fact that the policeman may start reading his books after having an encounter with him.

Socialism vs Beatles

The narrator in his youth starts working as a journalist, and begins to entertain socialist ideas, he comes out as a rebel, and starts fighting against the government for a cause he deems greater than himself and begins to see himself as a working-class hero who is criticising the government to bring about a national change. However, instead of bringing about the change, he becomes a rock music junkie after hearing the Beatles for the first time. This shows how fickle a human being can be, a person may take upon hardships for a cause he finds superficial but popular but may lose interest as soon as he finds the next best thing.

Narrator 'hating' writing

The author states that writing was his one dream for which he rebelled against his parents, became a laughing stock for everyone, and even lost a girl he loved because of it. But, when he finally becomes rich enough to afford time and energy to devote in writing, he avoids to do so. He procrastinates compulsively as he is so afraid of failure. Esther realizes this and forces him to write, and in spite of writer’s admission that he loves writing, he begins to see it as a hateful task and begins to hate Esther for forcing it upon him.

We humans have two great problems: the first is knowing when to begin; the second is knowing when to stop.

As the writer begins to write his first book, it’s as if a frantic energy has seized him. While he was procrastinating to write even the first sentences, he found himself so full of words that anything other than writing seemed to be a waste of time. He had to be forced to eat or sleep or go outside. It’s ironic how a person who didn’t know how or when to begin couldn’t stop even if he wanted to.

War is a ritual. A blood ritual, but also a love ritual.

Esther says this in response to the narrator’s puzzlement as to what could be so attractive about a war. Esther believes that war is not just about shedding blood and killing people. In war, people are more in touch with their mortality, with the fact that they are inevitably going to die, so they are under no illusions of a tomorrow and live life to fullest as if it’s their last day, which it might be. She feels that in those last moments, a person doesn’t thinks about his death or who killed him or whom he hated but the person he loved and hence, a war which basically is a situation where people get killed, people actually live for their true love.

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