I picked Hippie up and started to read the first chapter, and immediately wanted to put it down again and drop it off at the library and start something else. I thought I would give it another chapter just in case, and that’s when I fell in love with Paulo’s story. Now I am crying because I finished the book, and I want more magic, more of Paulo Coelho’s words, wisdom, and thoughts.
Hippie is mainly autobiographical, a story created from Paulo Coelho’s own experiences in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, is a vivid journey of exploration, self-discovery, and love. We go through Peru and Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, and then on to Amsterdam where Paulo meets Karla, a young Dutch woman, who convinces him to board the Magic Bus to Nepal. The beautiful prose is full of revelations, thoughts, human interactions, and soul searching.
The prose is lyrical, and while I obviously cannot talk about the prose in the original language, the translation works very well. I have not read too many of Paulo Coelho’s books, but the ones I have read (The Alchemist, Veronika Decides to Die, and now Hippie), he never fails to inspire me to look at my own journey with different eyes. There was a lot of spirituality through the pages, religion and gods and beliefs appearing here and there. This is something that could potentially annoy me, but in the context of the novel it worked very well. I’ve always found Sufism intriguing, and while Hippie doesn’t provide a real lowdown on the religion, it does inspire you to learn more about it, and why it would have been something that would pull Paulo’s heart.
Parts of me are Karla, or at least were Karla, 16 years ago, when I was on my own journey in the Middle East. I met a Paulo there, and while we didn’t travel on the Magic Bus, or have the exact same relationship, it was similar enough for me to relate to it in many ways. Europe meets South America in the Middle East, a story that can be told in many ways.