Like the flowing river: Thoughts and Reflections

Like the flowing river: Thoughts and Reflections


A breathtaking collection of reflections from one of the world's best loved storytellers, Paulo Coelho.

In this riveting collection of thoughts and stories, Paulo Coelho, the author of ‘The Alchemist’, offers his personal reflections on a wide range of subjects from archery and music to elegance, traveling and the nature of good and evil.

An old woman explains to her grandson how a mere pencil can show him the path to happiness…instructions on how to climb a mountain reveal the secret to making your dreams a reality…the story of Ghengis Khan and the Falcon that teaches about the folly of anger – and the art of friendship…a pianist who performs an example in fulfilling your destiny…the author learns three important lessons when he goes to the rescue of a man in the street – Paulo shows us how life has lessons for us in the greatest, smallest and most unusual of experiences.

Our Review

“Be like the flowing river,

Silent in the night.

Be not afraid of the dark.

If there are stars in the sky, reflect them back.

If there are clouds in the sky,

Remember, clouds, like the river, are water,

So, gladly reflect them too,

In your own tranquil depths.”

Manuel Bandeira

This was on the first page of this short story collection so I chose to include it in my review because I liked it.

The preface to this book describes a conversation with his mother about wanting to become a writer. A conversation which made me smile when I read it.

"But have you ever met a writer? Have you ever seen a writer?’

‘Never. Only in photographs.’

‘So how can you possibly want to be a writer if you don’t really know what it means?’

In order to answer my mother’s question I decided to do some research.”

The story was the result of this research is this collection of his own experiences, other people’s anecdotes and thoughts he has had while travelling down particular stretches of the river of my life.

Each story has a different message or theme hidden in it somewhere and each one is special in its own way.

One of my favourites was The Story of the Pencil, the story of a conversation between a grandma and her grandson. I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

She is trying to impart information onto him about life, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.

There is something about his writing style that I love but I can’t pinpoint the exact thing. I like his ability to have you feel like you are right there alongside of him and you are experiencing what he is experiencing.

I enjoyed Pandora’s Box a story which is about the power of hope.

The Dead Man Wore Pyjamas was another gem among the collection.

“Then I thought about the dead man in pyjamas about his complete and utter isolation, to the point that, for twenty years, no one in the whole world had noticed that he had simply vanished without a trace. I can only conclude that worse than hunger or thirst, worse than being unemployed, unhappy in love or defeated and in despair, far worse than any or all of those things is feeling that no one, absolutely no one, cares about us.”

When I read Of Books and Libraries the first line horrified me: I don’t really own many books but then I read why and realised that I understood and agreed with his reasoning.

“Of course, I still confuse to buy books – there’s no electronic substitute for them; but as soon as I’ve finished a book, I let it go, I give it to someone else, or to the public library. My intention is not to save forests or to be generous…a book has it’s journey to make, and should not be condemned to being stuck on a shelf.”

Other great stories were My Funeral, On Witches and Forgiveness, Traveling Differently and An Around-the-World Trip After Death.


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