Those familiar with Paulo Coelho's work should know what occurs in most of his books. There is a journey of the spiritual sort involved here and his pages are littered with enigmatic characters often spouting pearls of wisdom.
As Aleph begins, all is not well with Coelho, the narrator, and the meditative aspect of his routine, prompting a hastily planned cross-country railway trip across the great plains of Russia.
With a book tour masking the less worldly purpose of his journey, Paulo resigns himself to the daily rituals of meeting and greeting admiring fans, until a chance encounter with the feisty, mysterious Hilal upends any chance of normality for the rest of his travels.
This becomes apparent through their shared experience of the aleph, a place where time and space converge to reveal their secrets. There are moments here of self-actualisation, illustrated through choice wording.
Critics might have something say about Coelho's tendency to ramble too, but this is still an illuminating book complete with highly quotable, very readable passages.