Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Eleven Minutes

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. “Once upon a time” is how all the best children’s stories begin and “prostitute” is a word for adults. How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let’s keep that beginning.Excerpt from the book


I went on a journey recently. This journey lasted two days and came to an end last night at almost midnight, it came to an end. My companion in this journey was Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho.  A lot of people speak highly of The Alchemist and I agree, that was an eye opener, a gentle push towards pursuing unrealized dreams. However, Eleven Minutes went deeper. Some readers may say that the book is just about sex and prostituition. However, to say it’s only about sex would be to limit it. I think that it is about sex and love, sacred sex which is a different type of sex based on the context of love. Others may have found a different meaning behind Maria’s story. To some it was a love story complete with a dramatic ending straight out of a movie scene. Other readers may call it a journey to self discovery. In my case, this was a book about following dreams. Eleven Minutes reminded me that we are all allowed to have dreams and love in our lives.

Sacred sex. A paradoxical, utopian impossibility or a life- sustaining, attainable goal? This is the major question that underpins Paulo Coelho’s new novel, Eleven Minutes, the tale of Maria, a naive young woman from Brazil who becomes a high-class prostitute in Switzerland‘. The Washington Post
Eleven Minutes is a story about Maria, a young girl from a village in Brazil. It takes you through her transition from a girl to a woman and her journey towards discovering her own sexuality. An encounter with a boy leaves her heartbroken and teaches her a lesson on lost opportunities. However, a chance meeting with a stranger at Rio leads her to Geneva where she goes to seek fame. In Geneva she found a lot of things but not the fame that she wanted. Another chance encounter with two millionaires from two very different worlds again changes her world. One millionaire introduced her to the world of pain and pleasure and the other one introduced her to a world of sacred sex. She loved both worlds but could only choose one.
As I said, I enjoyed reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho because it reminded me about dreams. I admired Maria in so many ways. She always went for what she wanted. Going to Switzerland was a bold move that she took. When her first job didn’t work out, again she made the bold move and got out. The whole time that in Switzerland; she remained focused on her goal of going back to Brazil at some point. She worked hard, made enough money and gave herself a deadline, the date when she would go back home. A lot came her way to distract her from her goals and she could have given excuses had she wanted to. However, she relentlessly pursued her goals, stayed focus and left when it came time to leave.
Maria compared prostitution to working in a job that you don’t like. Whether it’s a banker, business person, an administrator, as long as you are selling your time, body and mind to people just so that you can get paid, then you are no different than Maria. She hated what she did, spent time with people she didn’t like and went through things that didn’t make her happy everyday all because of the money. It’s just the same thing that people stuck in dead end jobs do. They end up in careers that they do not like, giving their time, mind and bodies each day just for the pay check. You do a job that you loathe, spend time with people that perhaps you do not like and each day end up losing a part of yourself all because of the money.



I have always loved books that i can relate to. Eleven Minutes was one such book. I could relate to Maria and hence think about my life as i turned from page to page.Paulo Coelho drew me in and made me part of the story. That is probably why i liked the book so much.Such a passionate story of love, life and surrendering to both in pain and pleasure.


I would recommend Eleven Minutes to anyone who loves Coelho’s work and to all readers looking for an enjoyable yet thought provoking read. I am also curious to know what stood out to other readers, was it all about the sacred sex or did the story mean something different to you?

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes


I have written reviews for Adultery and Alchemist on the links below:https://ahavenforbooklovers.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/adultery-by-paulo-coelho/  and https://ahavenforbooklovers.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/the-alchemist-by-paulo-coelho/

8 thoughts on “Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

  1. I love your writing but this one I refuse to read to the end because I feel it will spoil the book for me. Until I read the book, I won’t read your review.

    1. It has no spoilers, only what you can find in the blurb but do read the book. Its an enjoyable read so you will definitely love it.

  2. Wow, reading all these reviews really put me in a conversational mood….with a book :). I gotta grab one of these copies, this sounds like a fascinating one to have a conversation with.

  3. I read ELEVEN MINUTES within a very short time and one thing stood out .MARIAs courage, the go getter attitude and the ability to know when to stop! setting targets and abiding by them no matter what

    1. Awesome. I loved that about her too. I wish I could follow my dreams with the same zeal.

      Thanks for visiting the blog.

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