Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Two childhood friends go on a journey together from Spain to the surrounding communities of the Pyrenees mountains. On their journey Pilar and her friend discuss the meaning of love, forgiveness and how to lead an adventurous life by taking risks to fulfill a dream. There is also the Pere who seems to become a mediator or advocate, a friend, between the man and woman. First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, BY THE RIVER PIEDRA I SAT DOWN AND WEPT by PAULHO COELHO. I've had good conversation whether confrontational or peaceable while reading through the pages. Whatever the tone of the moment ideas flowed like good wine pass the three people to me. The transition to another world of spirituality and beauty made me see that moments in my life can be full of meaning.

I began the novel thinking one way, then, all of a sudden there was a switch in my mind. At first the male companion seemed to be the one capable and willing to teach Pilar the way to a spiritual life. I thought Pilar seemed more romantic. You know woman want romance. Man wants to pontificate about his great deeds. It is only after her male companion comes back from a time of solitude in the mountains do I see he is the one who will be changed by the woman's thoughts about forgiveness and what dream to follow in life. Oddly, when he comes from the mountaintop and meets the woman he grabs her and gives her a deep and intimate kiss. The kiss seems to say 'I want your body.' He is now willing to give up his life of spiritual growth in order to build a home with a white picket fence and do all that he thinks this woman, most women want for their lives. Here is the twisted dance. Pilar doesn't want any of the above. She wants to talk about spirituality.She wants to give her life away in service to other people. This is the walk, the journey she wants to share with her companion. I suppose both are striving to sacrifice themselves for one another in different ways.

In order that Pilar's  strong spirituality is not overlooked. Paulo Coelho mentions Saint Teresa of Avila along with Bernadette of Lourdes and Of course, the Virgin Mother who understands our suffering because she experiences the death of Her Son. Broadening his points the author includes Psalm 137. I still have parts of the Psalm rushing through my head like fresh water. I will feel neglectful not to add the Psalm to the end of my book review. Most of the journey is through the French countryside. I feel the flavor of their journey will seem more lasting and real if I leave the Psalm here in the French language. Of course I can only read it in the English.

Psalm 137

English Standard Version (ESV)

How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song?

137 By the waters of Babylon,
    there we sat down and wept,
    when we remembered Zion.
On the willows[a] there
    we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
    required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How shall we sing the Lord's song
    in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
     let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
    above my highest joy!
Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
     the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
    down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
    blessed shall he be who repays you
    with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
    and dashes them against the rock!biblegateway


  1. I've heard a lot about this author. It sounds like you really enjoyed this book.

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