BOOK READS: A Review of Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Genre: Fiction Published: 1998
Genre: Fiction
Published: 1998

It took me almost two weeks before I finally finished Veronika Decides to Die . For the record, two-week duration is already a fast read for me when it comes to a Paulo Coelho novel.

He is an undeniably good writer, but most of his novels are really quite boring, especially the first half of the books. There are those ideas and character monologues that I found uninteresting.

Though when you look at the other side of the coin, Paulo Coelho’s writing style is a bit boring because it talks about the realities of life. There are no supernatural characters; there is no dystopian type of settings, there is no thrilling crime to be solved. The novel is indeed straight to the point and realistic.

Also, I find this book ‘meaty’ when it comes to principles or facts in life. Veronika Decides to Die is another Coelho novel that possesses the depth that is rare in modern novels.

With insanity as its main topic, Coelho allowed his reader a peak on a world that he experienced living, a world inside an asylum. I commend the author’s bravery in discussing, though in an indirect way, his own experience inside a mental institution full of ‘insane’.

I also like how Coelho introduced the main characters of his novel that are all inside the Villete. They are:

Veronika, a 24 year-old young woman, who decides to die because of life’s predictability;

 Zedka, a depressed woman who left his husband for his first love;

Dr. Igor, the doctor who studies Vitriol, a drug he believes that can cure insanity;

Mari, a 40-year lawyer, who suffered panic attacks because of her fears;

And Eduard, a schizophrenic young man who wanted to paint his visions of paradise instead of becoming a diplomat like his father.

Though this novel in not really a mystery thriller, Coelho managed to raise my curiosity on how Veronika, who committed suicide at the beginning of the novel, will face the last 5 days of her life. (Yes, it isn’t an instant death). And how his ‘insane’ characters lives will connect and overlap.


This is the first time that I have guessed the ending of a Coelho novel. 20 or more pages before the ending of the story, I already have hinted how the characters lives will go in the end. So I think Coelho is a bit predictable in this novel.


“There is always a gap between intention and action.”

“Suicide demands that people think of themselves first and of others later.”

“People always tend to help others- just so that they can feel they are better that they really are.”

“Real love changes and grows with time and discovers new ways of expressing itself.”

“People never learn anything by being told; they have to find out for themselves.”

“Insanity is the ability to communicate your ideas.”

“The best way to avoid trouble is to share responsibility.”

“No one should let themselves get used to anything.”

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road: the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what you encounter.”

“If people don’t like it, they can complain. If they don’t have the courage to complain, that’s their problem.”

“Like children, the insane will not budge on until their desires have been satisfied.”

“Society had more and more rules, and laws that contradict the rules, and new rules that contradicted the laws.”

“Laws had not been created to resolve problems but in order to prolong quarrels indefinitely.”

“People talked more openly to psychiatrist than they did to a priest because a doctor couldn’t threaten them with Hell.”

(I’ve told you! Coelho novels have a bunch of wise words!)


If you are a fan of realistic novels, this is a MUST read. If not, you MAY want to try.

2 thoughts on “BOOK READS: A Review of Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho”

  1. Have to admit this is one of my favourite novels even though most would call me a spec fic fan. I actually found it beautifully crafted with a delicate unfolding structure reminiscent of the tortured mind.


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