Eleven Minutes, Paulo Coelho

11 Minutes

Anyone who is in love is making love the whole time, even when they’re not. When two bodies meet, it is just the cup overflowing. They can stay together for hours, even days. They begin the dance one day and finish it the next, or–such is the pleasure they experience–they may never finish it. No eleven minutes for them.

I can hardly believe it.  A year ago I was in Mexico, getting ready for the New Year, 2014, still reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera and finally coming to the realize I wouldn’t finish it in time before the hand struck 12.   And like every New Year I am more keenly aware that I feel like I’m nearly in the same place as the year before.  Nearly, but not quite.

Eleven Minutes  by Paulo Coelho really reminded me of Love in the Time of Cholera.  The novel follows Maria, a Brazilian girl, who first desires to fall in love and be loved, and then comes to the realization that love only brings pain and avoids it at all costs.  She finds herself exploring the world of sex, first through high school boyfriends and eventually as a prostitute in Switzerland.  As she explores the passionless world of meaningless sex, she actually begins to rediscover what love is truly like.  Through passion, through real intimacy, through the connection most humans eventually succumb to.  Her journey reminds me of Florentino’s in Love in the Time of Cholera, in many opposing ways of course.  I feel like Maria and Florentino would have great sex if they could meet.

The title comes from Maria’s idea for a book when she realized that sex only ever takes 11 minutes.  Her exploration is very frank, her knowledge gained through curiosity — she’s a very likeable heroine, albeit a little foolish it seems.  But it’s a journey worth reading because it takes you the reader right to the basics of love, romance, and sex — basics I think many of us often forget.

Roberta, one of my Italian friends from the International Student House, fell in love in D.C.  She fell in love with salsa.  Everyday I looked forward to asking her about her salsa classes because she always responded like a woman deep in love.  Roberta is passionate and feisty and that’s why she was perfect to read from Eleven Minutes, and of course like the wonderfully independent woman she is, it was at her own suggestion!

Books Read: 18


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