The story is about Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love only leaving her heartbroken.
At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love and that love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer. She gets a chance of leaving Rio to go to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Before going she is promised stardom as a South American dancer when she reaches Geneva but instead ends up working as a prostitute.
On reaching Geneva, she is tricked into a year’s work to repay her passage. She manages to run away and chooses prostitution as a “temporary” solution. Maria decides that love is suffering, while using the local library for self-education, she writes a her journal recording her thoughts but she thinks about the meaning of 11 minutes which she concludes that it’s the time it takes to have sex.
Maria drifts further and further away from love as she develops a fascination with sex. Eventually, with her despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. This is when Maria is faced with a difficult decision to make. She has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness, sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything to find her own “inner light” and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love.
Paulo Coelho the author of Eleven Minutes was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; in 1988 he published ‘The Alchemist’ that launched him as an international bestselling author.