Fiction or Non-fiction?

Narrative theories and methods have revitalised the exploration of the inner patterning and meaning of human lives (McAdams, 2006b). The creative works of Coelho show an inner patterning and refer to the meaning of human lives. The narrations of “The pilgrimage” and “Aleph” both refer to the concept of spirituality as the narrator’s base. In both works the author interweaves autobiographical experiences of two journeys and presents them with inner thought processes, with the descriptions of his changing emotions and selected fictional aspects. Coelho leaves the reader in the dark in terms of his “real” and his “fictitious” experiences. The question remains: what is real and what is fictitious? This is a typical pattern found in Coelho’s (two) books: The reader is unsure in terms of the layers of reality, fiction and non-fiction, the characters and Coelho’s experience in life.

The interweaving of fiction and non-fiction is a pattern that is found in the two books that have been analysed, as well as in the way Coelho promotes himself as an author: He plays with layers and concepts of reality, keeps the secrecy of his real experiences and his fantasies and leaves the reader wondering about his “real” thoughts on reality. Coelho, thus does not disclose himself to the public; he is the character in all of his books (Chap. 3), speaks the language of his soul in his books, is always the magician and the writer at the same time.

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