Book Review – By the river Piedra, I sat down and wept.

The book “By the river Piedra, I sat down and wept” had kept me busy this weekend. The book is a narration by a girl from Soria, Pilar.

Pilar starts with – BY THE RIVER Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything that falls into the waters of this river – leaves, insects, the feathers of birds – is transformed into the rocks that make the riverbed. If only I could tear out my heart and hurl it into the current, then my pain and longing would be over, and I could finally forget. Pilar, a girl from Soria, leaves her place to Zaragoza to live a life that she thought was her life, while her childhood friend traveled around to give lectures on spiritualism.

The book is all about love and its endurance. Pilar describes all the pain she had been through with lines

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of the suffering.

How true these lines are. When she was fighting with herself after he proposed, he told her “I admire you. I admire the battle you are waging with your heart” and taught her the exercise of the Other. When she had done the exercise of the Other and had the Other at the corner, she had to wait for him to choose between two kinds of love. He helped her regain faith. He helped her discover that she had been on an exile thus far and only after expelling the Other, she had found herself. He helped her find her lost life. As Paulo Coelho says in one of his books, when Pilar had nothing to lose, she was given everything (life, love, faith). When she ceased to be who she was (the Other), she found herself.

We have seen many movies, read many romantic novels where the hero woes his girl and wins over her heart. This book has got the same storyline, but how the man wins over her heart is admirable. He takes her to the place he always wanted to be with her. He chooses his destiny with her by his side, at the place where he wanted to choose between the two kinds of love. The man of this book talks about the other kind of love when he talks to Pilar.  He is right, there are only two kinds of love – the one that Virgin had for her son and the other that Pilar and her man shared. This is what my next blog post is most likely to be on.

The book explains how love can never be an obstacle to follow one’s dream and destiny. The book says, to love is to smile through all the struggles together hand in hand. Just like how Pilar crosses the dark tunnel with her hand on her man’s shoulder, life is to be traveled together, no matter how difficult the path is. When her man tells her that he had given up the gift of Virgin back to her and has planned to live the rest of his life with her at Zaragoza, Pilar was not happy.  She was disappointed because she had never dreamed of living a life with him, in a house in the mountain with white curtains. She had always dreamed of living a life with him, performing miracles, curing the sick, bearing few of the stones that people had to hurl at him wherever he went to spread the feminine face of the God.

Pilar started her narration when the woman told her “Legend says that the River Piedra is so cold that anything that falls into it – leaves, insects, the feathers of birds-is turned to stone. Maybe it would be a good idea to toss your suffering into its waters”. By hurling her suffering into the waters, Pilar has turned all her suffering into stone, thereby carving a message on the stone, for the world to see, read and understand that Love is eternal.

PS: A book beautifully written with a poetic narration. This is the first book where I found philosophy and love. This now features is my list of favorite books.


31 thoughts on “Book Review – By the river Piedra, I sat down and wept.

  1. Tanu says:

    Hi loganathan, I am also a reader of Paulo Coelho books, have read Vernonika Decides to Die and The Alchemist. This one seems to be beautiful. I will try to get it. You have given nice and gentle review, it seems, shall visit again. I am following you!

    • cresloga says:

      Hi Tanu,

      First thing first!! Welcome to my blog. I’ve recently started reading books and I love philosophy. I started with The Alchemist and decided to look for all of his books. By the river Piedra, I sat down and wept would definitely have an impact on readers. A beautiful piece from Paulo Coelho. Thanks for the comment.. Keep visiting.


  2. Hayley West says:

    By the River Piedra I sat down and wept is my favourite novel by the author PAULO COELHO!

    • cresloga says:

      Hey Heyley,

      Welcome to my blog. yeah, this novel really impressed me.. one of the rarest where I found romance, spirituality and philosophy. Keep visiting!!


  3. Hayley West says:

    Thanks Loga for your reply! Hayley loves philosophy, ROMANCE & spirituality, so therefore I LOVE PAULO COELHO’S —-By the River PIEDRA I Sat Down & Wept because of its beautiful LEGEND —- leaves , insects and the feathers of the birds are transformed into the rocks that make the riverbed because the legend has it that the waters of the River Piedra is so cold!

  4. Hayley West says:

    If a film was made of this lovely novel , I would LOVE TO PLAY PILAR!

    • cresloga says:

      Couldn’t say anything but smile :). Such a lovely character. what a lovely way she fights the girl within.. I could see that you have visualized every scene of this novel.
      Keep visiting. you may like to read the other posts in this blog as well. You are most welcome to this space!!


  5. Hayley West says:

    Hey Loga, I have read “By the River PIEDRA I SAT Down & WEPT” BY PAULO COELHO’, NINE TIMES!!!!!!! This is how much I love and WORSHIP this novel of forgiveness! LOVE H A Y L E Y !!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

    • Hayley West says:

      Pilar fought against her heart!

      • cresloga says:

        So very obsessed with the book? 🙂 I will not be surprised if you say yes with the number of comments you have posted on to this post!!
        And this book is definitely one of that kind!!


  6. Karoline says:

    hi ..
    i have read this book one week ago .. and now i need a summary for school ..
    has anyone of you written a summary?

    • cresloga says:

      Hey karoline,
      Welcome to my blog. You will see a lot of book reviews in blogs. Don’t know if you can get summary here. Anyways glad to have your comment here. Keep visiting.


  7. Arshee says:

    I just read this book…and iam bit confused..he actually comes back to her in the end right???her childhood love?

    • cresloga says:

      Hi Arshee,
      Welcome to my blog. Yes he does come back to his childhood love. If you had read carefully, Pilar sits by the river piedra and pens down her memory when he gets back. When he gets back to meet her, she hands over the note to him.


  8. Arshee says:

    Thanks ya..

  9. ritika bhatia says:

    this is an ausmn book i have ever read throughout my life…

  10. Flora De Guzman says:

    Hi! I am an avid fan of Paulo Coelho. I have a collection of his books – from The Alchemist to The Winner Stands Alone. I must admit I have not read them all yet, coz I only read them when my mind is clear and ready to absorb the messages…

    I have just finished By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept for the 2nd time… I love your review! I am going through a difficult moment in my emotions right now and the book has more or less guided me — that I have to live with the existence of the “Other”, acceptance of the reality that “we need to take a risk in order to do crazy things in life.”…..

    Have you read and reviewed “Eleven Minutes” by P Coelho?

    • cresloga says:

      Hi Flora,

      Welcome to my blogspace. I’m a fan of Paulo as well. I like his philosophies. Just as you commented, I read his books only when I’m completely free to let my thoughts into it. I’ve read only four books of him – The Alchemist, By the river Piedra I sat down and wept, The Zaheer and Veronica decides to die. I will try Eleven Minutes and write a review on it when I find time for it. Welcome again. Keep visiting.


  11. An awesome review!!!! Really liked it! Keep it up!

  12. Hey Cresloga and Hayley west,
    “Your love has saved me and returned me to my dream,” he continued….
    “Go and get your things,” he said. “Dreams mean work.”
    Now does that mean the man returned back to his worki ??

    when the man says “I don’t know. But the Goddess has always given me a second chance in life. And She is
    giving me that with you. She will help me to find my path again.”
    “Our path.”
    Does that mean he stays with her forever and wishes that goddess might give him the power to cure people ?

  13. Mohamed A. says:


    What An Interesting Review :).
    Paulo Coelho Is One Fabulous Writer, Though I’m Still 13 Years Old But I’m Very Very Interested In His Books. I’ve Read Veronika Decides To Die, The Alchemist, Aleph, And Still Reading By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept.
    I’d Like To Read More Reviews From You.

  14. Madan Suvedi says:

    very good review, indeed.
    it’s my 6th book of paulo after Alchemist, Pilgrimage, Veronica Decides to Die, Witch of Portobello and Eleven Minutes. All are wonderfu. They reach deep into your heart scribing only love and spirituality. Paulo is a philosophy in itself.
    love him and his work.

  15. inkpaperpen says:

    I loved this book! I found the idea of a female divinity fascinating.

  16. manu says:

    What a great review !
    Thanks :¬)

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