Eleven Minutes

Genre: Fiction; Author: Paulo Coelho

If Mitch Albom rewrote Story of O, it would read something like Coelho’s earnest, aphoristic, and sexually graphic Eleven Minutes, the tale of a young Brazilian prostitute plying her trade in Switzerland. Maria, a beautiful small-town girl, moves to Geneva to become a dancer, but quickly discovers she can make more money as a hooker. Thereafter, she falls in love with an artist, discovers sexual ecstasy at the handle of a whip, learns about her G-spot, and experiences the ”sacred, nameless, timeless” rapture of simultaneous orgasm (”it was an eternity, it was as if we had both left our bodies…”) Silly? Check. Lurid? Obviously. Yet the book casts a curiously sweet spell, so convinced is Coelho (The Alchemist) of the transformative power of erotic love.

Originally posted April 2 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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