Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho
Veronika Decides to Die is a novel by Paulo Coelho that tells the story of a young woman named Veronika who decides to take her own life, but survives the attempt and finds herself in a mental institution. The book explores themes of mental illness, identity, and the pursuit of meaning in life.
The book begins with the introduction of Veronika, a 24-year-old woman who is living in Slovenia. Veronika feels as though her life is empty and devoid of meaning, and decides to take her own life with an overdose of sleeping pills. Despite her best efforts, Veronika survives the attempt, and is taken to a mental institution.
Veronika is diagnosed with a heart condition that gives her only a few days to live. With the knowledge that her time is limited, Veronika begins to question the meaning of her life and whether or not she has truly lived. She becomes increasingly interested in the other patients at the institution, and begins to form connections with them.
One of the patients that Veronika meets is Zedka, a young woman who is suffering from depression. Veronika and Zedka quickly become friends, and Veronika is inspired by Zedka’s courage and perseverance in the face of her own struggles.
Veronika also meets Eduard, a man who is suffering from schizophrenia. Eduard is convinced that he is a famous musician, despite having no musical talent. Veronika is initially put off by Eduard’s behavior, but eventually comes to see him as a kind and caring person who is struggling with his own demons.
As Veronika spends more time in the mental institution, she begins to question her own identity and the values that she has been taught throughout her life. She begins to realize that her pursuit of success and material possessions has left her feeling unfulfilled and empty. She comes to see that true happiness can only be found in the pursuit of one’s passions and in the connections that we form with others.
Despite the fact that Veronika’s condition is deteriorating, she begins to feel a sense of purpose and meaning in her life for the first time. She decides to help Eduard pursue his dreams of becoming a musician, and begins to find a sense of peace in the knowledge that she has made a difference in the lives of others.
In the final pages of the book, Veronika’s condition worsens and she passes away. However, her legacy lives on in the lives of those that she touched during her brief time at the mental institution. Her story serves as a reminder that life is precious and that we should make the most of the time that we have.
One of the major themes of Veronika Decides to Die is the pursuit of meaning and purpose in life. Veronika is initially disillusioned with her life and feels as though her existence is empty and devoid of purpose. However, as she spends time in the mental institution and forms connections with other patients, she begins to see that true happiness can be found in the pursuit of one’s passions and in the connections that we form with others.
Another theme that is explored in the book is the stigma surrounding mental illness. The other patients in the mental institution are all struggling with various mental illnesses, and are often stigmatized by society at large. However, as Veronika spends time with these individuals, she comes to see them as people with their own unique struggles and stories.
Veronika Decides to Die is a powerful and thought-provoking book that explores themes of mental illness, identity, and the pursuit of meaning in life. Paulo Coelho’s prose is elegant and poetic, and the book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in exploring the complexities of the human experience.