The Zahir is a 2005 novel by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. As in an earlier book, The Alchemist, The Zahir is about a pilgrimage. The book touches on themes of love, loss and obsession.
The Zahir was written in Coelho's native language, Portuguese, and it has been translated into 44 languages. The book was first published in Iran, in Persian translation, by Caravan publishing. Iran has never signed any international copyright agreements. By being published first in Iran, the book falls under the national copyright law of Iran. This copyright measure created an unusual situation where a book is first published in a language other than the author's native language. However, the book was banned in Iran a few months after its publication, during the 18th Tehran International Book Fair.
Intended as a work of fiction, the story has strong autobiographical features, which led to an attack on the book's shallow egotism in the English press. Coelho named British war correspondent and author Christina Lamb as the inspiration for the character Esther in The Zahir.