By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept tells the story of Pilar. Although she seems to have a good grasp of where she is going in life, what she has to do and what she thinks she is expected to become, there is a part of her that is restless and unsettled. This feeling is magnified when she meets up with an old childhood friend, one who she hasn’t seen in years.
The childhood friend is a spiritual teacher, one who has garnered a reputation for working miracles. As the two are reacquainted, they are taken on a spiritual journey of self-discovery through the French Pyrenees, a landscape filled with a history of spirituality experiences.
This one meeting has the potential to change everything, and not just for Pilar but for many others…
This is the first book I have read by Paulo Coelho and probably the first from this genre, which, I believe is spiritual fiction. I’m not really sure what to make of this story. Part of me liked it and another part was waiting for something to happen. Although the book was short, the pace was a little gentle and so perhaps a little slowly for my liking.
However, I did feel sorry for Pilar on a number of occasions as it is clear from the narrative just how lost she is on this journey. The emotions described as she is trying to find her way through the inner conflict this meeting has awakened in her is touching and inspirational in parts, as she comes to understand what it is she wants from life, as well as seeing religion in a new light. That religion does not have to be the Catholicism of her youth, but rather can focus on the feminine aspects / representations of God.
I did especially like the last sentence, which I think is a great piece of advice:
“Dreams mean work.”