Coelho is almost sixty. His name, which has been given to a suite at the Hotel Ambasciatori in Rome and to a hot-chocolate drink at Le Bristol hotel in Paris, is pronounced Co-el-you. He is solid and short, with the capable, roughened look of someone who makes his living out-of-doors, and he dresses in black cowboy boots, black jeans, and black T-shirts.
"In spite of belonging to different genres, Coelho's narratives and self-help books have the same fundamental effect: of anesthetizing the alienated consciousness through the consoling reaffirmation of conventions and prevailing prejudices. Fascinated by his discoveries, the Coelhist reader explores the familiar, breaks down doors already open, and gets mired in sentimental, tranquilizing, self-centred, conformist, and spellbinding visions of the world that imprisons him. When he finishes a book, he wants another one that will be different but absolutely the same."
"It is a story, told in 'A Thousand and One Nights' and in Rumi's 'Masnavi' and later adapted by Jorge Luis Borges—the version that Coelho, who is Brazilian, first read—of a man who dreams that he must leave home to find a treasure, and upon arriving at his destination, discovers that the treasure is in fact buried in his native land."
Originally published on May 3, 2007