Eleven Minutes

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For the film, see 11 Minutes (film).
Eleven Minutes
Eleven Minutes Book cover.jpg
Eleven Minutes
Author Paulo Coelho
Original title Onze Minutos
Country Brazil
Language Portuguese
Publication date

Eleven Minutes (Portuguese: Onze Minutos) is a 2003 novel by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho based on the experiences of a young Brazilian prostitute called Maria, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a young age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that "love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer.....". When a chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, she dreams of finding fame and fortune yet ends up working as a prostitute.

As Maria drifts further away from love, she develops a fascination with sex. But when she meets a handsome young painter she finds she must choose between pursuing a dark path of sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything for the possibility of sacred sex; sex in the context of love.

Plot introduction[edit]

Maria, a young girl from a remote village of Brazil, whose first encounters with love leave her heartbroken, goes to seek her fortune in Switzerland. She works for a time in a nightclub but soon becomes dissatisfied and after a heated discussion with her manager one night, she quits her job. She tries to become a model but is unsuccessful. Because she is running out of money, she accepts 1000 francs from an Arab man to spend the night with him. She then decides to become a prostitute and ends up in a brothel on Rue de Berne, the heart of Geneva's red-light district...

There she befriends Nyah who gives her advice on her "new profession" and after learning the tricks of the trade from Milan, the brothel owner, she enters the job with her body and mind shutting all doors for love and keeps her heart open only for her diary. Quickly she becomes quite successful and famous and her colleagues begin to envy her. Months pass and Maria grows into a professionally groomed prostitute who not only relaxes her clients' mind, but also calms their soul by talking to them about their problems.

Her world turns upside down when she meets Ralf, a young Swiss painter, who sees her "inner light". Maria falls in love with him immediately and begins to experience what true love is (according to the author, it is a sense of being for someone without actually possessing him/her). Maria is now split between her sexual fantasies and true love for Ralf. Eventually she decides that it is time for her to leave Geneva with her memory of Ralf, because she realizes that they are worlds apart. But before leaving, she decides to rekindle the dead sexual fire in Ralf and learns from him about the nature of Sacred Sex, sex which is mingled with true love and which involves the giving up of one's soul for the loved one.

This book explores the sacred nature of sex. "Eleven minutes" describes the duration of sex. Also, it depicts two types of prostitution: prostitution for money and sacred prostitution. There are also direct references to sadomasochism.

The story is of Maria's journey to find what true love is by letting her own life guide her. She enters a life that leads her down the path of sexual awakening and almost leads to her self-destruction when she is introduced to all sides of sexual experience. When she has given up hope to find true love, she finds her true "inner light" and her everlasting true love.


Maria – The main character and protagonist.

Maria's father – A salesman

Maria's mother - A seamstress.

Boy from Maria's childhood - He was Maria's puppy love, when she was 11 years old. This initial experience encouraged Maria to be bolder with males.

Maria's boyfriend who gave her the first kiss – Later on, this boy flirted with Maria's friend. This motivated Maria to earn a lot of money so that one day she could humiliate him (beside buying a farm for her parents).

Maria's boyfriend to whom she lost her virginity – Maria used him to learn about sex.

Store owner – Maria’s boss. He fell in love with Maria and provided the money for her trip to Rio de Janeiro. He became Maria’s safety net in her future plans.

Maílson – translator / security / a

Roger – His main interest was to employ beautiful young girls to dance at his club.

Vivian – A cold woman who knew better that the young girls would not get their dream (i.e. adventure, money, husband) while she worked for Roger. She introduced the name “Rue de Berne” to Maria, which is in the red-light district of Geneva.

Arab boyfriend – Maria’s acquaintance with this man cost her her job at Roger’s club.

Heidi – The woman at the library from where Maria borrowed books.

Maria’s first customer – An Arab man, who paid 1000 Swiss francs to have sex with her.

The invisible woman – Only Maria could see her. She took the appearance of the Virgin Mary.

Milan – The owner of the “Copacabana” bar, where Maria worked as a prostitute.

Nyah – Prostitute from the Philippines, and Maria’s only female friend at the Copacabana.

Ralf Hart – A successful 29-year-old painter with whom Maria secretly falls in love. Ralf has been married twice, but got divorced in both cases because he lost interest in the sexual part of the relationship. He sees Maria as his opportunity to learn about sex once again.

Terence – A wealthy Englishman who introduced Maria to the pleasures of sadomasochism.ى


Although the novel was originally written in Portuguese and published as Onze Minutos, it has been translated to numerous foreign languages.

  • Eleven minutes (Nepali) by Binita Dahal
  • ഇലവന്‍ മിനിറ്റ്സ് (Malayalam)
  • Eleven Minutes (Hindi) Dinesh Sharma
  • Njëmbëdhjetë minuta (Albanian)
  • إحدى عشر دقيقة (Arabic)
  • Տասնմեկ րոպե (Armenian)
  • On bir dəqiqə (Azeri)
  • বাংলা (Bengali)
  • Единайсет минути (Bulgarian)
  • Onze minuts (Catalan)
  • Onse ka minutos (Cebuano)
  • 愛的十一分鐘 (Traditional Chinese)
  • Jedanaest Minuta (Croatian)
  • Jedenáct minut (Czech)
  • Elleve minutter (Danish)
  • Elf Minuten (Dutch)
  • Elf Minuten (German)
  • Üksteist Minutit (Estonian)
  • Yksitoista minuuttia (Finnish)
  • Onze Minutes (French)
  • Tizenegy perc (Hungarian)
  • Eleven Minutes (English)
  • Vienpadsmit minūtes (Latvian)
  • Vienuolika minučių (Lithuanian)
  • Единaeсет минути (Macedonian)
  • Elleve Minutter (Norwegian)
  • Ellefu Mínútur (Icelandic)
  • Одинадцять хвилин (Ukrainian)
  • Jedenaście minut (Polish)
  • Одиннадцать минут (Russian)
  • Once minutos (Spanish)
  • Έντεκα λεπτά (Greek)
  • Undici Minuti (Italian)
  • یازده دقیقه (Persian)
  • 11分間 (Japanese)
  • 십일 분 (Korean)
  • 11 นาที (Thai)
  • On Bir Dakika (Turkish)
  • Једанаест минута (Serbian)
  • Jedenásť minút (Slovakian)
  • Enajst minut (Slovenian)
  • Elva minuter (Swedish)
  • Unsprezece minute (Romanian)
  • Labing-isang Minuto (Tagalog)
  • Sebelas Menit (Indonesian)
  • თერთმეტი წუთი (Georgian)
  • אחת עשרה דקות (Hebrew)
  • Mười một phút (Vietnamese)
  • මිනිත්තු එකො‍ළහේ කතාව (Sinhala)
  • Njëmbëdhjetë minuta (Albanian)
  • ఎలెవెన్ మినిట్స్ (Telugu)
  • பதினோரு நிமிடங்கள் (Tamil


  • 11 منٹ(Urdu)[1]


  1. ^ Romail, house of bublications.sep 2014 transletor; faheem Ahmed sabri

See also[edit]