Veronika decides to die complete pdf


 

walking on air, all because a complete stranger, in the middle of that very square, . Veronika had decided to die on that lovely Ljubljana afternoon, with Bolivian. He had probably told his fellow journalists on Veronika decides to die by Paulo .. Later, when he decided to write a book about the subject, he considered. Theodor Storm Veronika 1 In der Mühle Es war zu Anfang April, am Tage vor Palmsonntag. Die milden Strahlen der scho.

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Veronika Decides To Die Complete Pdf

Full text of "Veronika Decides To Die By Paulo Coelho" .. So let us allow Paulo Coelho and his friend Veronika to leave this book for good, and let us get I'll tell them not to follow the manual of good behavior but to discover their own lives, . encounter could be either unique to one's self or common to the entire mankind. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho is something more than a mere. Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything -- youth and beauty, boyfriends and a loving family, a fulfilling job. But something is missing in her life.

Ahmed Qureshi Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho Veronika decides to die Paulo Coelho Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents… and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke For S. On 11 November , Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had—at last! She carefully cleaned the room that she rented in a convent, turned off the heating, brushed her teeth and lay down. She picked up the four packs of sleeping pills from her bedside table. Instead of crushing them and mixing them with water, she decided to take them one by one, because there is always a gap between intention and action, and she wanted to feel free to turn back half way. However, with each pill she swallowed, she felt more convinced: after five minutes the packs were empty.

Ah, that Earth pain — unique, unmistakable. A series of bright dots appeared, but, even so, Veronika knew that those dots were not the stars of paradise but the consequences of the intense pain she was feeling. One of the tubes — the one stuck down her throat — made her feel as if she were choking. She made an attempt to remove it, but her arms were strapped down. She had tried to kill herself, and someone had arrived in time to save her. It could have been one of the nuns, a friend who had decided to drop by unannounced, someone delivering something she had forgotten she had ordered.

The fact is she had survived, and she was in Villete. At that time, believing that the partitioning of the former Yugoslavia would be achieved through peaceful means after all, Slovenia had only experienced eleven days of war , a group of European businessmen had obtained permission to set up a hospital for mental patients in the old barracks, abandoned because of high maintenance costs.

Shortly afterward, however, the wars commenced: The businessmen were worried. They resolved the problem by adopting practices that were far from commendable in a psychiatric hospital, and for the young nation that had just emerged from a benign communism, Villete came to symbolize all the worst aspects of capitalism: To be admitted to the hospital, all you needed was money.

Others, fleeing If om debts or trying to justify certain attitudes that could otherwise result in long prison sentences, spent a brief time in the asylum and then simply left without paying any penalty or undergoing any judicial process. Villete was the place from which no one had ever escaped, where genuine lunatics — sent there by the courts or by other hospitals — mingled with those merely accused of insanity or those pretending to be insane.

The result was utter confusion, and the press was constantly publishing tales of ill treatment and abuse, although they had never been given permission to visit Villete and see what was actually happening. The government was investigating the complaints but could get no proof; the shareholders threatened to spread the word that foreign investment was difficult in Slovenia, and so the institution managed to remain afloat; indeed, it went from strength to strength.

She had two daughters and a husband who loved her. Then she kicked up a fuss, lost a few pounds, smashed some glasses and — for weeks on end — kept the rest of the whole neighborhood awake with her shouting. Absurd though it may seem, I think that was the happiest time of her life. She was fighting for something; she felt alive and capable of responding to the challenges facing her. One day she phoned to say that she wanted to change her life: Then, one morning she left a message on my machine, saying good-bye, and she gassed herself.

I listened to that message several times: I had never heard her sound so calm, so resigned to her fate. In a world where everyone struggles to survive whatever the cost, how could one judge those people who decide to die? No one can judge. Each person knows the extent of their own suffering or the total absence of meaning in their lives.

Veronika wanted to explain that, but instead she choked on the tube in her mouth, and the woman hurried to her aid. She saw the woman bending over her bound body, which was full of tubes and protected against her will. She openly expressed desire to destroy it. She moved her head from side to side, pleading with her eyes for them to remove the tubes and let her die in peace. What interests me is doing my job. If the patient gets agitated, the regulations say I must give them a sedative.

Soon afterward, she was back in a strange dreamless world, where the only thing she could remember was the face of the woman she had just seen: He thought of calling her Blaska or Edwina or Marietzja, or some other Slovenian name, but he ended up keeping the real names.

When he referred to his friend Veronika, he would call her his friend Veronika. His friend Veronika was horrified at what her father had done, especially bearing in mind that he was the director of an institution seeking respectability and was himself working on a thesis that would be judged by the conventional academic community.

The right to asylum is something any civilized person can understand. So how could my father, the director of an asylum, treat someone like that? The reason was the following: He himself had been committed to an asylum or, rather, mental hospital, as they were better known.

And this had happened not once but three times, in , , and The place where he had been interned was the Dr. Eiras Sanatorium in Rio de Janeiro. Precisely why he had been committed to the hospital was something that, even today, he found odd. Perhaps his parents were confused by his unusual behavior. And when he left the sanatorium for the last time, determined never to go back, he had made two promises: Even though he had never considered suicide, he had an intimate knowledge of the world of the mental hospital — the treatments, the relationships between doctors and patients, the comforts and anxieties of living in a place like that.

So let us allow Paulo Coelho and his friend Veronika to leave this book for good, and let us get on with the story.

Veronika Decides to Die - A Novel of Redemption

She remembered waking up at one point — still with the life — preserving tubes in her mouth and nose — and hearing a voice say'. Do YOU want me to masturbate you? Apart from that one memory, she could remember nothing, absolutely nothing. The tubes had been taken out, but she still had needles stuck all over her body, wires connected to the areas around her heart and her head, and her arms were still strapped down.

She was naked, covered only by a sheet, and she felt cold, but she was determined not to complain. The small area surrounded by green curtains was filled by the bed she was lying on, the machinery of the Intensive Care Unit, and a white chair on which a nurse was sitting reading a book.

This time the woman had dark eyes and brown hair. Even so Veronika was not sure if it was the same person she had talked to hours — or was it days? We won 7 have much to talk about, and both he and I will know it. He and I will end up finding a way of dreaming of a future together: I don 7 really know. People will always consider ns a happy couple, and no one will know how much solitude, bitterness, and resignation lies beneath the surface happiness.

Two or three years later, another woman will appear in his life. My mother was right. He will continue being a considerate husband; I will continue working at the library, eating my sandwiches in the square opposite the theater, reading books I never quite manage to finish, watching television programs that are the same as they were ten, twenty, fifty years ago. Veronika brought her interior monologue to a close and made a promise to herself: She would not leave Villete alive.

It was best to put an end to everything now, while she was still brave and healthy enough to die. Through the green curtain she heard the sound of someone crying, groans, or voices whispering in calm, technical tones.

From time to time, a distant machine would buzz and she would hear hurried footsteps along the corridor. Then the voices would lose their calm, technical tone and become tense, issuing rapid orders. In one of her lucid moments, a nurse asked her: When Veronika opened her eyes again for the first time, she realized that she had been moved; she was in what looked like a large ward. She still had an IV drip in her arm, but all the other wires and needles had been removed.

Beside him a young junior doctor holding a clipboard was taking notes. Veronika noticed his reaction at once, which alerted her instincts. Had she been here longer than she had thought? Was she still in some danger? She began to pay attention to each gesture, each movement the two men made; she knew it was pointless asking questions; they would never tell her the truth, but if she was clever, she could find out what was going on.

Veronika knew her name, her marital status, and her date of birth, but she realized that there were blanks in her memory: The doctor shone a light in her eyes and examined them for a long time, in silence.

The young man did the same thing. They exchanged glances that meant absolutely nothing. She was having difficulty knowing who she was and what she was doing there. At one point she remembered that she was now in a mental hospital, and that the mad were not obliged to be coherent; but for her own good, and to keep the doctors by her side, at least so she can find out something more about her state, she began making a mental effort to respond.

As she recited the names and facts, she was recovering not only her memory but also her personality, her desires, her way of seeing life. The idea of suicide, which that morning seemed to be buried beneath several layers of sedatives, resurfaced. During the coma brought on by the pills you took, your heart was irreversibly damaged.

She kept her eyes fixed on his and, smiling, said: But any pleasure he had taken in giving her the tragic news had vanished. During the night, however, she began to feel afraid. It was one thing to die quickly after taking some pills; it was quite another to wait five days or a week for death to come, when she had already been through so much. She HAD always spent her life waiting for something: Now she was going to have to wait for death, which had made an appointment with her. This could only happen to me.

Normally, people die on precisely the day they least expect. She had to get out of there and get some more pills. She had tried to save her parents any unnecessary suffering, but now she had no option. She looked around her. All the beds were occupied by sleeping people, some of whom were snoring loudly. There were bars on the windows. At the end of the ward there was a small bright light that filled the place with strange shadows and meant that the ward could be kept under constant vigilance.

Near the light a woman was reading a book. These nurses must be very cultivated, they spend their whole lives reading. The nurse looked up and saw the girl approaching, dragging her IV drip with her. The woman gestured vaguely toward the door. She peered about her. The toilet was a cubicle with no door. If she wanted to get out of there, she would have to grab the nurse and overpower her in order to get the key, but she was too weak for that. On her way back she heard someone whispering from one of the beds: She had only one fixed idea: But the woman asked her the same question she had asked the nurse.

Go to your bed. What did it mean to be crazy? People would say, for example, that certain sportsmen were crazy because they wanted to break records, or that artists were crazy because they led such strange, insecure lives, different from the lives of normal people.

Then there were the thinly clad people walking the streets of Ljubljana in winter, whom Veronika had often seen pushing supermarket trolleys full of plastic bags and rags and proclaiming the end of the world.

According to the doctor, she had slept for almost a week, too long for someone who was used to living without great emotions but with rigid timetables for rest.

Perhaps she should ask one of the lunatics. Like schizophrenics, psychopaths, maniacs. I mean people who are different from others. Or Columbus, insisting that on the other side of the world lay not an abyss but a continent. Or Edmund Ehllary, convinced that a man could reach the top of Everest. Or the Beatles, who created an entirely different sort of music and dressed like people from another time.

Those people — and thousands of others — all lived in their own world. Did they live in a world apart? I thought she must be drunk, and I went to help her, but she refused my offer to lend her my jacket. Perhaps in her world it was summer and her body was warmed by the desire of the person waiting for her.

Who knows; perhaps she was the woman who had been seen half-naked walking the streets of Ljubljana? Whoever drank that water would go mad. The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. They marched on the castle and called for his abdication.

The king and the queen drank the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense. Their subjects repented at once; now that the king was displaying such wisdom, why not allow him to continue ruling the country?

And the king was able to govern until the end of his days. While I hope that the chemical gets rid of my chronic depression, I want to continue being crazy, living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be. Do you know what exists out there, beyond the walls of Villete? I have the same problems as everyone else.

Could she trust this woman? She needed to take the risk. You must understand how awful it is to have to wait for death; you must help me.

It was her first normal day in the mental hospital. She left the ward, had some breakfast in the large refectory where men and women were eating together. She noticed how different it was from the way these places were usually depicted in films — hysterical scenes, shouting, people making demented gestures — everything seemed wrapped in an aura of oppressive silence; it seemed that no one wanted to share their inner world with strangers.

The wall was high, as required by the builders of the old type of barracks, but the watchtowers for the sentries were empty. After a first, rapid inspection, she noticed that the only place that was really guarded was the main gate, where everyone who entered and left had their papers checked by two guards.

Everything seemed to be falling into place in her mind again. Zedka must have been about thirty- five and seemed absolutely normal. After a while the body gets habituated, and the sedatives lose their effect.

Beyond the walls you could see the mountains disappearing into the clouds. I felt as if nature was in harmony with me, that it reflected my soul. On the other hand, when the sun appeared, the children would come out to play in the streets, and everyone was happy that it was such a lovely day, and then I would feel terrible, as if that display of exuberance in which I could not participate was somehow unfair.

You were saying something about what I asked you last night. There are many reasons for this: Here inside, everyone can say what they like, do what they want, without being criticized. The doctors know this, but there must be some order from the owners that allows the situation to continue, because there are more vacancies than there are patients. Ask her. But what did it matter? She was experiencing something interesting, different, totally unexpected.

Imagine a place where people pretend to be crazy in order to do exactly what they want. She suddenly remembered what the doctor had said, and she felt frightened. The woman moved off, and Veronika stood looking at the mountains beyond the walls of Villete. A faint desire to live seemed about to surface, but Veronika determinedly pushed it away.

I must get hold of those pills as soon as possible. She reflected on her situation there; it was far from ideal. She had never done anything crazy.

Veronica Decides To Die - Pdf Download

After some time in the garden, everyone went back to the refectory and had lunch. Immediately afterward, the nurses led both men and women to a huge living room divided into lots of different areas; there were tables, chairs, sofas, a piano, a television, and large windows through which you could see the gray sky and the low clouds.

None of the windows had bars on them, because the room opened onto the garden. The doors were closed because of the cold, but all you had to do was turn the handle, and you could go outside again and walk once more among the trees. Most people went and sat down in front of the television.

Others stared into space, others talked in low voices to themselves, but who has not done the same at some moment in their lives?

Veronika noticed that the older woman, Mari, was now with a larger group in one of the corners of the vast room Some other patients were walking nearby, and Veronika tried to join them in order to eavesdrop on what the group members were saying. She tried to disguise her intentions as best she could, but whenever she came close, they all fell silent and turned as one to look at her.

One said to the other: A burly, shifty-looking male nurse came over, wanting to know what was going on. Veronika assumed an ironic air, smiled, turned and moved off, so that no one would notice that her eyes were filling with tears.

She went straight out into the garden without bothering to put on a coat or jacket. A nurse tried to persaude her to come back inside, but another appeared soon after and whispered something in his ear.

Veronika Decides to Die : Paulo Coelho :

The two of them left her in peace, in the cold. There was no point taking care of someone who was condemned to die. She was confused, tense, irritated with herself. She had never allowed herself to be provoked; she had learned early that whenever a new situation presented itself, you had to remain cool and distant.

Perhaps the pills or the treatment they had administered to get her out of her coma had transformed her into a frail woman, incapable of fending for herself. She had confronted far worse situations in her adolescence, and yet for the first time, she had been unable to hold back her tears.

Who among them could teach her about life when they were all huddled behind the walls of Villete? She would never want to depend on their help for anything, even if she had to wait five or six days to die. There are only another four or five left. Her heart that was beating too hard. And yet I suffer and get upset; I want to attack and defend. Why waste my time? I never used to fight over stupid things. She stopped in the middle of the icy garden.

It was precisely because she had found everything so stupid that she had ended up accepting what life had naturally imposed on her. In adolescence she thought it was too early to choose; now, in young adulthood, she was convinced it was too late to change. And what had she spent all her energies on until then? On trying to ensure that her life continued exactly as it always had. She had given up many of her desires so that her parents would continue to love her as they had when she was a child, even though she knew that real love changes and grows with time and discovers new ways of expressing itself.

One day, when she had listened to her mother telling her, in tears, that her marriage was over, Veronika had sought out her father; she had cried, threatened, and finally extracted a promise from him that he would not leave home, never imagining the high price her parents would have to pay for this. All she wanted was her salary at the end of the month.

She rented the room in the convent because the nuns required all tenants to be back at a certain hour, and then they locked the door: Anyone still outside after that had to sleep on the street. She always had a genuine excuse to give boyfriends, so as not to have to spend the night in hotel rooms or strange beds. When she used to dream of getting married, she imagined herself in a little house outside Ljubljana, with a man quite different from her father — a man who earned enough to support his family, one who would be content just to be with her in a house with an open fire and to look out at the snow-covered mountains.

She had taught herself to give men a precise amount of pleasure; never more, never less, only what was necessary. When she had achieved almost everything she wanted in life, she had reached the conclusion that her existence had no meaning, because every day was the same. And she had decided to die. Veronika went back in and walked over to the group gathered in one corner of the room The people were talking animatedly but fell silent as soon as she approached.

She went straight over to the oldest man, who seemed to be the leader. Before anyone could stop her, she gave him a resounding slap in the face. A little thread of blood ran from his nose. She had done something that she had never done in her entire life. Three days had passed since the incident with the group that Zedka called the Fraternity.

She adapted herself to the routine imposed by the hospital: Before Veronika went to sleep, a nurse always appeared with medication. All the other women took pills; Veronika was the only one who was given an injection. She never complained; she just wanted to know why she was given so many sedatives, since she had never had any problems sleeping. They explained that the injection was not a sedative but medication for her heart.

And so, by falling in with that routine, her days in the hospital all began to seem the same. When the days are all the same, they pass more quickly; in another two or three days she would no longer have to brush her teeth or comb her hair.

Veronika noticed her heart growing rapidly weaker: She easily ran out of breath, she got pains in her chest, she had no appetite, and the slightest effort made her dizzy. After the incident with the Fraternity, she had sometimes thought: If I had a choice, if I had understood earlier that the reason my days were all the same was because I wanted them like that, perhaps But the reply was always the same: There is no perhaps, because there is no choice.

And her inner peace returned, because everything had already been decided. They used to play cards — which helps the time pass more rapidly — and sometimes they would walk together in silence in the garden. On one particular morning, immediately after breakfast, they all went out to take the sun, as the regulations demanded. A nurse, however, asked Zedka to go back to the ward, because it was her treatment day. Veronika, who was having breakfast with her, heard the request.

Do you want to come and watch? She was going to step outside the routine , thought Veronika. But her curiosity got the better of her and she nodded. Let her come with us. He seemed pleased to be treated like a doctor explaining to a younger doctor the correct procedures and the proper treatments. However, when the dose is much larger than normal, the consequent drop in blood glucose provokes a state of coma.

You may be in a mental hospital, but you still have to abide by certain rules. But since she had nothing to lose, she went on shouting.

From where she was, Zedka coidd see the ward and the beds, all empty except for one, to which her body was strapped, and beside which a girl was standing, staring in horror. The girl didn 't know that the person in the bed was still alive with all her biological functions working perfectly, but that her sold was flying, almost touching the ceiling, experiencing a sense of profound peace. Zedka WAS making an astral journey, something that had been a surprise during her first experience of insulin shock.

If she started telling them that she had left her body, they would think she was crazier than when she had entered Villete. However, as soon as she had returned to her body, she began reading up on both subjects: It had been used for the first time around but had been completely banned in psychiatric hospitals because of the possibility of irreversible damage to the patient.

During one such session she had visited Dr. Igor was saying. Zedka had sought out and borrowed everything that had been written about insulin shock, especially firsthand reports by patients who had experienced it.

The story was always the same: She concluded — quite rightly — that there was no relationship between insulin and the feeling that her consciousness was leaving her body. She started researching the existence of the soul, read a few books on occultism, and then one day she stumbled on a vast literature that described exactly what she was experiencing: Some had merely set out to describe what they had felt, while others had developed techniques to provoke it. Zedka now knew those techniques by heart, and she used them every night to go wherever she wished.

The descriptions of those experiences and visions varied, but they all had certain points in common: Her experience, however, showed that she could go as far as she wanted and the cord never broke. But generally speaking the books had been very useful in teaching her how to get more and more out of her astral traveling. She had learned, for example, that when she wanted to move from one place to another, she had to concentrate on projecting herself into space, imagining exactly where she wanted to go.

Unlike the routes followed by planes — which leave from one place and fly the necessary distance to reach another — an astral journey was made through mysterious tunnels. You imagined yourself in a place, you entered the appropriate tunnel at a terrifying speed, and the other place would appear.

It was through books too that she had lost her fear of the creatures inhabiting space. Today there was no one else in the ward. The first time she had left her body, however, she had found a lot of people watching her, amused by her look of surprise. Her first reaction was to assume that these were dead people, ghosts haunting the hospital.

Then, with the help of books and of her own experience, she realized that, although there were a few disembodied spirits wandering about there, among them were people as alive as she was, who had either developed the technique of leaving their bodies or who were not even aware of what was happening to them because, in some other part of the world, they were sleeping deeply while their spirits roamed freely abroad.

Today — knowing that this was her last astral journey on insulin, because she had just been to visit Dr. From the moment she went out through the main gate, she would never again return, not even in spirit, and she wanted to say good-bye. To say good-bye. That was the really difficult part. Once in a mental hospital, a person grows used to the freedom that exists in the world of insanity and becomes addicted to it.

You no longer have to take on responsibilities, to struggle to earn your daily bread, to be bothered with repetitive, mundane tasks. You could spend hours looking at a picture or making absurd doodles. Everything is tolerated because, after all, the person is mentally ill. As she herself had the occasion to observe, most of the inmates showed a marked improvement once they entered the hospital.

At the beginning Zedka had been fascinated by Villete and had even considered joining the Fraternity once she was cured. But she realized that if she was sensible, she could continue doing everything she enjoyed doing outside, as long as she dealt with the challenges of daily life. As someone had said, all you had to do was to keep your insanity under control. You could cry, get worried or angry like any other normal human being, as long as you remembered that, up above, your spirit was laughing out loud at all those thorny situations.

She would soon be back home with her children and her husband, and that part of her life also had its charms. Of course it would be difficult to find work; after all, in a small town like Ljubljana news travels fast, and her internment in Villete was already common knowledge to many people.

But her husband earned enough to keep the family, and she could use her free time to continue making her astral journeys, though not under the dangerous influence of insulin. There was only one thing she did not want to experience again: The doctors said that a recently discovered substance, serotonin, was one of the compounds responsible for how human beings felt. When this substance was completely absent, the person experienced despair, pessimism, a sense of futility, terrible tiredness, anxiety, difficulties in making decisions, and would end up sinking into permanent gloom, which would lead either to complete apathy or to suicide.

Other more conservative doctors said that any drastic change in life could trigger depression — moving to another country, losing a loved one, divorce, an increase in the demands of work or family. Some modern studies, based on the number of internments in winter and summer, pointed to the lack of sunlight as one of the causes of depression. It was so stupid. However, unlike her friends, who only dreamed of the Impossible Love, Zedka had decided to go further; she had actually tried to realize that dream.

He lived on the other side of the ocean, and she sold everything to go and join him. He was married, but she accepted her role as mistress, plotting secretly to make him her husband. He barely had enough time for himself, but she resigned herself to spending days and nights in a cheap hotel room, waiting for his rare telephone calls.

Despite her determination to put up with everything in the name of love, the relationship did not work out. He never said anything directly, but one day Zedka realized that she was no longer welcome, and she returned to Slovenia.

She spent a few months barely eating and remembering every second they had spent together, reviewing again and again their moments of joy and pleasure in bed, trying to fix on something that would allow her to believe in the future of that relationship. And so it was: One morning she woke up with an immense will to live; for the first time in ages, she ate heartily and then went out and found a job. She found not only a job, but also the attentions of a handsome, intelligent young man, much sought after by other women.

A year later she was married to him She aroused both the envy and the applause of her girlfriends. The two of them went to live in a comfortable house, with a garden that looked over the river that flows through Ljubljana. They had children and took trips to Austria or Italy during the summer.

When Slovenia decided to separate from Yugoslavia, he was drafted into the army. Zedka was a Serb — that is, the enemy — and her life seemed on the point of collapse. In the ten tense days that followed, with the troops prepared for confrontation, and no one knowing quite what the result of the declaration of independence would be and how much blood would have to be spilled because of it, Zedka realized how much she loved him She spent the whole time praying to a God who, until then, had seemed remote, but who now seemed her only hope.

She promised the saints and angels anything as long as she could have her husband back. And so it was. He came back, the children were able to go to the school where they taught the Slovene language, and the threat of war shifted to the neighboring republic of Croatia.

Three years had passed. Zedka thought it unjust to label a whole nation as criminals because of the folly of a few madmen. Her life took on a meaning she had never expected. She defended her people with pride and courage, writing in newspapers, appearing on television, organizing conferences. None of this bore any fruit, and even today foreigners still believe all the Serbs were responsible for those atrocities, but Zedka knew she had done her duty, and that she could not abandon her brothers and sisters at such a difficult time.

She could count on the support of her Slovene husband, of her children, and of people who were not manipulated by the propaganda machines of either side. One evening, she walked past the statue of Preseren, the great Slovene poet, and she began to think about his life. When he was thirty- four, he went into a church and saw an adolescent girl, Julia Primic, with whom he fell passionately in love. Like the ancient minstrels, he began to write her poems, in the hope of one day marrying her.

It turned out that Julia was the daughter of an upper middle-class family, and, apart from that chance sighting inside the church, Preseren never again managed to get near her. But that encounter inspired his finest poetry and created a whole legend around his name. In the small central square of Ljubljana, the statue of the poet stares fixedly at something. If you follow his gaze, you will see, on the other side of the square, the face of a woman carved into the stone of one of the houses.

That was where Julia had lived. Even after death Preseren gazes for all eternity on his Impossible Love. And what if he had fought a little harder? Perhaps it was a presentiment of something bad, an accident involving one of her children. Over the days that follow, Veronika's questions about whether she is truly insane are met with varying responses by several of the institution's nurses, by Zedka, a fellow patient whose soul travels outside her body in a process narration refers to as "astral projection," and by Mari, a member of a highly functional group of inmates known as The Fraternity.

Veronika also experiences a gradual awakening of interest in experiences both new and old, finding herself attracted to a schizophrenic patient, Eduard, and drawn to a piano in the asylum's common room. There, under the night of the new moon, she returns to her first love, music, and as Eduard watches, finds herself playing in ways she never had before. She also, in response to both her attraction to Eduard and the advice of Mari to try what had once been forbidden, masturbates to the point of having several climaxes.

All this, in spite of having a series of painful and frightening heart attacks, arouses in Veronika the desire to try even more experiences, and eventually the desire to live as fully as she can in the time remaining to her.

Meanwhile, narration also explores the experiences, both past and present, of Veronika's fellow inmates. Zedka's fascination with what the narrative describes as the ideal, "Impossible Love," Mari's rejection of her life as a lawyer in favor of a life of service, and Eduard's search for and exploration of "Visions of Paradise" are all described within the context of Veronika's gradual experience of awakening to the possibility of a more free and full life. Later, when he decided to write a book about the subject, he considered changing his friend's name in order not to confuse the reader.

He thought of calling her Blaska or Edwina or Marietzja, or some other Slovenian name, but he ended up keeping the real names. When he referred to his friend Veronika, he would call her his friend, Veronika. Besides, both he and his friend Veronika would only take up a very brief part of the book, this part. His friend Veronika was horrified at what her father had done, especially bearing in mind that he was the director of an institution seeking respectability and was himself working on a thesis that would be judged by the conventional academic community.

The right of asylum is something any civilised person can understand. So how could my father, the director of an asylum, treat someone like that? The reason was the following: And this had happened not once, but three times, in , and When he thought about it—and, it must be said, he rarely did—he considered the real madman to have been the doctor who had agreed to admit him for the flimsiest of reasons as in any family, the tendency is always to place the blame on others, and to state adamantly that the parents didn't know what they were doing when they took that drastic decision.

Paulo laughed when he learned of the strange letter to the newspapers that Veronika had left behind, complaining that an important French magazine didn't even know where Slovenia was. But he was let out. And when he left the sanatorium for the last time, determined never to go back, he had made two promises: His mother had died in , but his father, who had turned eighty-four in , was still alive and in full possession of his mental faculties and his health, despite having emphysema of the lungs even though he'd never smoked and despite living entirely off frozen food because he couldn't get a housekeeper who could put up with his eccentricities.

So, when Paulo Coelho heard Veronika's story, he discovered a way of talking about the issue without breaking his promises. Even though he had never considered suicide, he had an intimate knowledge of the world of the mental hospital—the treatments, the relationships between doctors and patients, the comforts and anxieties of living in a place like that.

So let us allow Paulo Coelho and his friend Veronika to leave this book for good and let us get on with the story. Veronika didn't know how long she had slept. She remembered waking up at one point—still with the life-giving tubes in her mouth and nose—and hearing a voice say: Apart from that one memory, she could remember nothing, absolutely nothing.

The tubes had been taken out, but she still had needles stuck all over her body, wires connected to the area around her heart and her head, and her arms were still strapped down. She was naked, covered only by a sheet, and she felt cold, but she was determined not to complain.

The small area surrounded by green curtains was filled by the bed she was lying on, the machinery of the Intensive Care Unit and a white chair on which a nurse was sitting reading a book.

This time, the woman had dark eyes and brown hair. Even so, Veronika was not sure if it was the same person she had talked to hours—or was it days? I'm alive, thought Veronika. Everything's going to start all over again.

Then they'll let me out, and I'll see the streets of Ljubljana again, its main square, the bridges, the people going to and from work. Since people always tend to help others—just so that they can feel they are better than they really are—they'll give me my job back at the library. In time, I'll start frequenting the same bars and nightclubs, I'll talk to my friends about the injustices and problems of the world, I'll go to the cinema, take walks around the lake.

Since I only took sleeping pills, I'm not disfigured in any way: I'm still young, pretty, intelligent, I won't have any difficulty in getting boyfriends, I never did. I'll make love with them in their houses, or in the woods, I'll feel a certain degree of pleasure, but the moment I reach orgasm, the feeling of emptiness will return.

We won't have much to talk about, and both he and I will know it. I'll go back to my rented room in the convent. I'll try and read a book, turn on the TV to see the same old programmes, set the alarm clock to wake up at exactly the same time I woke up the day before and mechanically repeat my tasks at the library.

I'll eat a sandwich in the park opposite the theatre, sitting on the same bench, along with other people who also choose the same benches on which to sit and have their lunch, people who all have the same vacant look, but pretend to be pondering extremely important matters. I'm pretty, I have a job, I can have any boyfriend I choose.

Veronika Decides To Die

My mother, who must be out of her mind with worry over my suicide attempt, will recover from the shock and will keep asking me what I'm going to do with my life, why I'm not the same as everyone else, things really aren't as complicated as I think they are. He and I will end up finding a way of dreaming of a future together: We'll make love often in the first year, less in the second, and after the third year, people perhaps think about sex only once a fortnight and transform that thought into action only once a month.

Even worse, we'll barely talk. I'll force myself to accept the situation, and I'll wonder what's wrong with me, because he no longer takes any interest in me, ignores me, and does nothing but talk about his friends, as if they were his real world. When the marriage is just about to fall apart, I'll get pregnant. We'll have a child, feel closer to each other for a while, and then the situation will go back to what it was before.

I'll begin to put on weight like the aunt that nurse was talking about yesterday—or was it days ago, I don't really know. And I'll start to go on diets, systematically defeated each day, each week, by the weight that keeps creeping up regardless of the controls I put on it.

At that point, I'll take those magic pills that stop you feeling depressed, then I'll have a few more children, conceived during nights of love that pass all too quickly. I'll tell everyone that the children are my reason for living, when in reality my life is their reason for living. People will always consider us a happy couple, and no one will know how much solitude, bitterness and resignation lies beneath the surface happiness.

Until one day, when my husband takes a lover for the first time, and I will perhaps kick up a fuss like the nurse's aunt, or think again of killing myself. By then, though, I'll be too old and cowardly, with two or three children who need my help, and I'll have to bring them up and help them find a place in the world before I can just abandon everything.

I won't commit suicide: I'll make a scene, I'll threaten to leave and take the children with me. Like all men, my husband will back down, he'll tell me he loves me and that it won't happen again. It won't even occur to him that, if I really did decide to leave, my only option would be to go back to my parents' house and stay there for the rest of my life, forced to listen to my mother going on and on all day about how I lost my one opportunity for being happy, that he was a wonderful husband despite his peccadillos, that my children will be traumatised by the separation.

Two or three years later, another woman will appear in his life. I'll find out—because I saw them, or because someone told me—but this time I'll pretend I don't know. I used up all my energy fighting against that other lover, I've no energy left, it's best to accept life as it really is, and not as I imagined it to be.

My mother was right. He will continue being a considerate husband, I will continue working at the library, eating my sandwiches in the square opposite the theatre, reading books I never quite manage to finish, watching television programmes that are the same as they were ten, twenty, fifty years ago. After that, it's a matter of waiting for the children to grow up and of spending all day thinking about suicide, without the courage to do anything about it.

One fine day, I'll reach the conclusion that that's what life is like, there's no point worrying about it, nothing will change. And I'll accept it. Veronika brought her interior monologue to a close and made a promise to herself: It was best to put an end to everything now, while she was still brave and healthy enough to die. Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho Related Papers.

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