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VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE ENGLISH PDF

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Theodor Storm Veronika 1 In der Mühle Es war zu Anfang April, am Tage vor Palmsonntag. Die milden Strahlen der scho. Assistant Professor on Contract, Department of Communicative English, 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.


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VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE. A NOVEL OF REDEMPTION. PAULO COELHO. TRANSLATED FROM THE PORTUGUESE BY MARGARET JULL COSTA. Full text of "Veronika Decides To Die By Paulo Coelho" While she was waiting for death, Veronika started reading about computer science, He wrote Brida ( a work still unpublished in English); the book received a lot of attention in the. 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.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho Unabridged Audiobook Narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith Length: 5 hours and 35 minutes Written book in EPUB format also included Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for--youth and beauty, plenty of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, , Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

She was fighting for something; she felt alive and capable of responding to the challenges facing her. Whats all that got to do with me? Im not your aunt and I havent got a husband. In the end, her husband got rid of his lover, said the woman, and gradually, my aunt returned to her former passivity. One day she phoned to say that she wanted to change her life: Shed given up smoking. That same week, after increasing the number of tranquilizers she was taking because shed stopped smoking, she told everyone that she wanted to kill herself.

No one believed her. 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. She said she was neither happy nor unhappy, and that was why she couldnt go on. Veronika felt sorry for the woman telling the story, for she seemed to be doing so in an attempt to understand her aunts death.

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. Youre upset, said the woman. I dont know if youre sorry about what you did or if you still want to die; that doesnt interest me. What interests me is doing my job. If the patient gets agitated, the regulations say I must give them a sedative. Veronika stopped struggling, but the nurse was already injecting something into her arm.

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: green eyes, brown hair, and a very distant air, the air of someone doing things because she has to do them, never questioning why the rules say this or that. Paulo Coelho heard about Veronikas story three months later, when he was having supper in an Algerian restaurant in Paris with a Slovenian friend, also called Veronika, who happened to be the daughter of the doctor in charge at Villete.

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. When he referred to the other Veronika, there would be no need to describe her at all, because she would be the central character in the book, and people would get irritated if they were always having to read Veronika the lunatic, or Veronika the one who tried to commit suicide.

Besides, both he and his friend Veronika would only take up a very brief part of the book, this one. 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.

Do you know where the word asylum comes from? It dates back to the Middle Ages, from a persons right to seek refuge in churches and other holy places. 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? Paulo Coelho wanted to know all the details of what had happened, because he had a genuine reason for finding out about Veronikas story.

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. Half shy, half extrovert, he had the desire to be an artist, something that everyone in the family considered a perfect recipe for ending up a social outcast and dying in poverty.

When Paulo Coelho thought about it and, it must be said, he rarely didhe considered the real madman to have been the doctor who had agreed to commit 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 didnt know what they were doing when they made 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 didnt even know where Slovenia was.

No one would kill themselves over something like that. Thats why the letter had no effect, said his friend Veronika, embarrassed.

Yesterday, when I checked in at the hotel, the receptionist thought Slovenia was a town in Germany. He knew the feeling, for many foreigners believed the Argentine city of Buenos Aires to be the capital of Brazil. But apart from having foreigners blithely compliment him on the beauty of his countrys capital city which was to be found in the neighboring country of Argentina , Paulo Coelho shared with Veronika the fact just mentioned but which is worth restating: He too had been committed to a mental hospital and, as his first wife had once remarked, should never have been let out.

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: a that he would one day write about the subject, and b that he would wait until both his parents were dead before touching publicly on the issue, because he didnt want to hurt them, since both had spent many years of their lives blaming themselves for what they had done.

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 even though hed never smoked and despite living entirely off frozen food because he couldnt get a housekeeper who would put up with his eccentricities.

So, when Paulo Coelho heard Veronikas 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 hospitalthe 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 didnt know how long she had slept. She remembered waking up at one pointstill with the lifepreserving tubes in her mouth and noseand hearing a voice say: DO YOU want me to masturbate you?

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But now, looking round the room with her eyes wide open, she didnt know if that had been real or a hallucination. 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 hoursor was it days? Can you unstrap my arms? The nurse looked up, said a brusque no, and went back to her book. Im alive, thought Veronika. Everythings going to start all over again. Ill have to stay in here for a while, until they realize that Im perfectly normal. Then theyll let me out, and Ill see the streets of Ljubljana again, its main square, the bridges, the people going to and from work.

Since people always tend to help othersjust so that they can feel they are better than they really aretheyll give me my job back at the library. In time Ill start frequenting the same bars and nightclubs, Ill talk to my friends about the injustices and problems of the world, Ill go to the movies, take walks around the lake.

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

We wont have much to talk about, and both he and I will know it. The time will come to make our excuses Its late, or I have to get up early tomorrowand well part as quickly as possible, avoiding looking each other in the eye.

Ill go back to my rented room in the convent. Ill try to read a book, turn on the TV to see the same old programs, 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. Ill eat a sandwich in the park opposite the theater, 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 Then Ill go back to work; Ill listen to the gossip about whos going out with whom, whos suffering from what, how such and such a person was in tears about her husband, and Ill be left with the feeling that Im privileged: Im pretty, I have a job, I can have any boyfriend I choose.

So Ill go back to the bars at the end of the day, and the whole thing will start again. 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 Im going to do with my life, why Im not the same as everyone else, things really arent as complicated as I think they are.

Look at me, for example, Ive been married to your father for years, and Ive tried to give you the best possible upbringing and set you the best possible example.

One day Ill get tired of hearing her constantly repeating the same things, and to please her Ill marry a man whom I oblige myself to love. He and I will end up finding a way of dreaming of a future together: a house in the country, children, our childrens future. Well make love often in the first year, less in the second, and after the third year, people perhaps think about sex only once every two weeks and transform that thought into action only once a month.

Even worse, well barely talk. Ill force myself to accept the situation, and Ill wonder whats 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, Ill get pregnant. Well have a child, feel closer to each other for a while, and then the situation will go back to what it was before. Ill begin to put on weight like the aunt that nurse was talking about yesterday or was it days ago?

I dont really know. And Ill 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 Ill take those magic pills that stop you from feeling depressed; then Ill have a few more children, conceived during nights of love that pass all too quickly.

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Ill 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 nurses aunt or think again of killing myself.

By then, though, Ill be too old and cowardly, with two or three children who need my help, and Ill have to bring them up and help them find a place in the world before I can just abandon everything.

I wont commit suicide: Ill make a scene; Ill threaten to leave and take the children with me. Like all men, my husband will back down; hell tell me he loves me and that it wont happen again.

It wont 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 peccadilloes, that my children will be traumatized by the separation.

Two or three years later, another woman will appear in his life. Ill find outbecause I saw them or because someone told mebut this time Ill pretend I dont know. I used up all my energy fighting against that other lover; Ive no energy left; its 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 theater, reading books I never quite manage to finish, watching television programs that are the same as they were ten, twenty, fifty years ago.

Except that Ill eat my sandwiches with a sense of guilt because Im getting fatter; and I wont go to bars anymore because I have a husband expecting me to come home and look after the children. After that its 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 Ill reach the conclusion that thats what life is like: Theres no point worrying about it; nothing will change. And Ill accept it. 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. She fell asleep and woke up several times, noticing that the number of machines around her was diminishing, the warmth of her body was growing, and the nurses faces kept changing; but there was always someone beside her.

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: Dont you want to know how you are?

I already know, replied Veronika. And it has nothing to do with what you can see happening in my body; its whats happening in my soul. The nurse tried to continue the conversation, but Veronika pretended to be asleep. 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. How long have I been here? Youve been in this ward for two weeks, after five days spent in the Intensive Care Unit, replied the older man.

And just be grateful that youre still here. The younger man seemed surprised, as if that final remark did not quite fit the facts. 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.

Tell me your name, address, marital status, and date of birth, the older man said. Veronika knew her name, her marital status, and her date of birth, but she realized that there were blanks in her memory: She couldnt quite remember her address. 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. Did you say to the night nurse that we couldnt see into your soul?

Veronika couldnt remember. She was having difficulty knowing who she was and what she was doing there. You have been kept in an artificially induced sleep with tranquilizers, and that might affect your memory a bit, but please try to answer all our questions. And the doctors began an absurd questionnaire, wanting to know the names of the principal Ljubljana newspapers, the name of the poet whose statue was in the main square ah, that she would never forget, every Slovene has the image of Preeren engraved on his or her soul , the color of her mothers hair, the names of her colleagues at work, the titles of the most popular books at the library.

To begin with Veronika considered not replyingher memory was still confused but as the questionnaire continued, she began reconstructing what shed forgotten. 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.

Fine, said the older man at the end of the questionnaire. How much longer must I stay here? The younger man lowered his eyes, and she felt as if everything were hanging in the air, as if, once that question was answered, a new chapter of her life would be written, and no one would be able to change it. You can tell her, said the older man. A lot of other patients have already heard the rumors, and shell find out in the end anyway; its impossible to keep secrets around here.

Well, you decided your own fate, sighed the young man, weighing each word. So you had better know the consequence of your actions.

During the coma brought on by the pills you took, your heart was irreversibly damaged. There was a necrosis of the ventricle Put it in laymans terms, said the older man. Get straight to the point. Your heart was irreversibly damaged, and soon it will stop beating altogether.

What does that mean? If your heart stops beating, that means only one thing, death. I dont know what your religious beliefs are, but When will my heart stop beating? Within five days, a week at most. Veronika realized that behind his professional appearance and behavior, behind the concerned manner, the young man was taking immense pleasure in what he was saying, as if she deserved the punishment and would serve as an example to all the others.

During her life Veronika had noticed that a lot of people she knew would talk about the horrors in other peoples lives as if they were genuinely trying to help them, but the truth was that they took pleasure in the suffering of others, because that made them believe they were happy and that life had been generous with them.

She hated that kind of person, and she wasnt going to give the young man an opportunity to take advantage of her state in order to mask his own frustrations.

She kept her eyes fixed on his and, smiling, said: So I succeeded, then. Yes, came the reply. 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: for her father to come back from work, for the letter from a lover that never arrived, for her end-of-year exams, for the train, the bus, the phone call, the holiday, the end of the holidays. 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.

If she couldnt, and the only solution was to jump from a high building in Ljubljana, thats what shed do. 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. Veronikas bed was the farthest from the door; between her and the woman there were nearly twenty other beds.

She got up with difficulty because, if she was to believe what the doctor had said, she hadnt walked for nearly three weeks. The nurse looked up and saw the girl approaching, dragging her IV drip with her. I want to go to the toilet, she whispered, afraid of waking the madwomen. The woman gestured vaguely toward the door. Veronikas mind was working fast, looking everywhere for an escape route, a crack, a way out.

It has to be quick, while they think Im still too frail, incapable of acting. 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. Is this a prison? No, its a mental hospital. But Im not crazy. Thats what they all say. All right then, I am crazy, but what does that mean? The woman told Veronika not to stay too long on her feet, and sent her back to her bed. What does it mean to be crazy? Ask the doctor tomorrow. But go to sleep now, otherwise Ill have to give you a sedative, whether you want it or not.

Veronika obeyed. On her way back she heard someone whispering from one of the beds: Dont you know what it means to be crazy? For a moment she considered ignoring the voice: She didnt want to make friends, to develop a social circle, to create allies for a great mass revolt.

She had only one fixed idea: death. If she really couldnt escape, she would find some way to kill herself right there, as soon as possible. But the woman asked her the same question she had asked the nurse. Dont you know what it means to be crazy? My name is Zedka. Go to your bed.

Also read: THRIVE DIET PDF

Then, when the nurse thinks youre asleep, crawl back over here. Veronika returned to her bed and waited for the nurse to resume her reading. What did it mean to be crazy? She hadnt the slightest idea, because the word was used in a completely anarchic way. 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. She didnt feel sleepy.

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. Veronika crouched down, pulled the needle out of her arm and went over to Zedkas bed, trying to ignore her churning stomach. She didnt know if the feeling of nausea came from her weakened heart or the effort she was making to move. I dont know what it means to be crazy, whispered Veronika.

But Im not. Im just a failed suicide. Anyone who lives in her own world is crazy. Like schizophrenics, psychopaths, maniacs. I mean people who are different from others. On the other hand, Zedka continued, pretending not to have heard the remark, you have Einstein, saying that there was no time or space, just a combination of the two. Or Columbus, insisting that on the other side of the world lay not an abyss but a continent. Or Edmund Hillary, 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 peopleand thousands of others all lived in their own world. This madwoman talks a lot of sense, thought Veronika, remembering stories her mother used to tell her about saints who swore they had spoken to Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Did they live in a world apart? I once saw a woman wearing a low-cut dress; she had a glazed look in her eyes, and she was walking the streets of Ljubljana when it was five degrees below zero.

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. Even if that person only existed in her delirium, she had the right to live and die as she wanted, dont you think?

Veronika didnt know what to say, but the madwomans words made sense to her. Who knows; perhaps she was the woman who had been seen half-naked walking the streets of Ljubljana? Im going to tell you a story, said Zedka. A powerful wizard, who wanted to destroy an entire kingdom, placed a magic potion in the well from which all the inhabitants drank.

Whoever drank that water would go mad. The following morning, the whole population drank from the well and they all went mad, apart from the king and his family, who had a well set aside for them alone, which the magician had not managed to poison. The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. The policemen and the inspectors, however, had also drunk the poisoned water, and they thought the kings decisions were absurd and resolved to take no notice of them.

When the inhabitants of the kingdom heard these decrees, they became convinced that the king had gone mad and was now giving nonsensical orders. They marched on the castle and called for his abdication.

In despair the king prepared to step down from the throne, but the queen stopped him, saying: Let us go and drink from the communal well. Then we will be the same as them. And that was what they did: The king and the queen drank the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense.

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Their subjects repented at once; now that the king was displaying such wisdom, why not allow him to continue ruling the country? The country continued to live in peace, although its inhabitants behaved very differently from those of its neighbors. And the king was able to govern until the end of his days.

You dont seem crazy at all, she said. But I am, although Im undergoing treatment since my problem is that I lack a particular chemical. 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? People who have all drunk from the same well.

Exactly, said Zedka. They think theyre normal, because they all do the same thing. Well, Im going to pretend that I have drunk from the same well as them.

I already did that, and thats precisely my problem. Ive never been depressed, never felt great joy or sadness, at least none that lasted. He smiled. She returned his smile—she had nothing to lose. He waved; she decided to pretend she was looking at something else, the young man was going too far.

Disconcerted, he continued on his way, forgetting that face at the window for ever. But Veronika was glad to have felt desired by somebody one last time. Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho 4 Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho Veronika had decided to die on that lovely Ljubjlana afternoon, with Bolivian musicians playing in the square, with a young man passing by her window, and she was happy with what her eyes could see and her ears hear.

She was even happier that she would not have to go on seeing those same things for another thirty, forty or fifty years, because they would lose all their originality and be transformed into the tragedy of a life in which everything repeats itself and where one day is exactly like another.

Her stomach was beginning to churn now and she was feeling very ill indeed. The noise in her ears was becoming more and more strident and, for the first time since she had taken the pills, Veronika felt fear, a terrible fear of the unknown. It did not last long. Soon afterwards, she lost consciousness.

Heaven would never use a fluorescent tube to light a room, and the pain—which started a fraction of a second later—was typical of the Earth. Ah, that Earth pain—unique, unmistakable. She tried to move and the pain increased. 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.

It wasn't hell, because she felt really cold and she was aware of plastic tubes coming out of her nose and mouth. One of the tubes—the one stuck down her throat—made her feel as if she were choking. She made as if 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 Villette. Villette, the famous and much-feared lunatic asylum, which had been in existence since , the year of the country's independence. 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 an old barracks, abandoned because of high maintenance costs.

Shortly afterwards, however, the wars commenced: first in Croatia, then in Bosnia. The businessmen were worried. The money for the investment came from capitalists scattered all round the globe, from people whose names they didn't even know, so there was no possibility of sitting down in front of them, offering a few excuses and asking them to be patient. They resolved the problem by adopting practices which were far from commendable in a psychiatric hospital, and for the young nation that had just emerged from a benign communism, Villette came to symbolise all the worst aspects of capitalism: to be admitted to the hospital, all you needed was money.

Others, fleeing from 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. Villette was the place from which no one had ever escaped, where genuine madmen —sent there by the courts or by other hospitals—mingled with those merely accused of madness or those pretending to be mad.

The result was utter confusion, and the press were constantly publishing tales of ill-treatment and abuse, although they had never been given permission to visit Villette and actually see what was 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 neighbourhood 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: she'd given up smoking. That same week, after increasing the number of tranquillisers she was taking because she'd stopped smoking, she told everyone that she wanted to kill herself. No one believed her.

Then, one morning, she left a message on my answerphone, saying goodbye, and she gassed herself. I listened to that message several times: I had never heard her sound so calm, so resigned to her fate. She said she was neither happy nor unhappy, and that was why she couldn't go on.

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, her freely 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 afterwards, 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: green eyes, brown hair, and a very distant air, the air of someone doing things because she has to do them, never questioning why the rules say this or that.

Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho 6 Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho Paulo Coelho heard about Veronika's story three months later when he was having supper in an Algerian restaurant in Paris with a Slovenian friend, also called Veronika, who happened to be the daughter of the doctor in charge at Villette.

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: he himself had been admitted into an asylum or, rather, mental hospital as they were better known. 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.

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And when he left the sanatorium for the last time, determined never to go back, he had made two promises: a that he would one day write about the subject and b that he would wait until both his parents were dead before Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho 7 Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho touching publicly on the issue, because he didn't want to hurt them, since both had spent many years of their lives blaming themselves for what they had done.

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. 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.

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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.

Veronika Decides to Die - Paulo Coelho.pdf

Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho 8 Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho Then I'll go back to work, I'll listen to the gossip about who's going out with whom, who's suffering from what, how such and such a person was in tears about her husband, and I'll be left with the feeling that I'm privileged: I'm pretty, I have a job, I can have any boyfriend I choose.

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: a house in the country, children, our children's future. 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.

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