How likely was it that I would choose two library books with the same plot in successive trips to the Library?
Aleph resembles Less (see blog entry January 22, 2020) in that each features a writer who undertakes a journey. Sensitive, clumsy Arthur Less is trying to get away from his chaotic life. Paulo, older, stronger and wealthier, is following a “spiritual path” to deal with unresolved personal issues like guilt.
The plot of Aleph requires acceptance of reincarnation. For me, suspension of disbelief was necessary. Two other premises were problematic – the reality of shamanistic trance and the value of complete submission in a master/student relationship.
That’s quite a lot of (my) baggage for a work of fiction to carry. I admit that my literalism is excessive and I often suspend this or that critical attitude in order to enjoy a novel. (I enjoy an occasional dose of the supernatural.)
I don’t know whether this book was written in English or in Coelho’s native tongue, Portugese. Wikipedia describes Coelho as being “associated with magic and occultism”.
I had trouble reading this book, and skipped most of one chapter. I disliked the protagonist, who came across to me as a man who expected he could have “everything”. I won’t be seeking out other works by Coelho.