By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

By Paulo Coelho

90,216 ratings - 3.57* vote

From Paulo Coelho, author of the bestselling The Alchemist, comes a poignant, richly poetic story that reflects the depth of love and life.Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a From Paulo Coelho, author of the bestselling The Alchemist, comes a poignant, richly poetic story that reflects the depth

... more

Book details

Paperback, 208 pages
May 23rd 2006 by HarperOne

(first published 1994)

Original Title
Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei
0061122092 (ISBN13: 9780061122095)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


Thank you, Mr Coelho.
At a time when my parents and my son are dying, and can't accept love, help and support, this one paragraph in your Author's Note gave me joy and hope:
"But ultimately there is no good reason for our suffering, for in every love lies the seed of our growth. The more we love, the closer we come to a spiritual experience. Those who are truly enlightened, those whose souls are illuminated by love, have been able to overcome all the inhibitions... They have been joyful — because those who love conquer the world and have no fear of loss. True love is an act of total surrender.
"...One doesn't love in order to do what is good, or to help, or to protect someone. If we act that way, we are perceiving the other as an object, and we are seeing ourselves as wise and generous... To love is to be in communion with the other and to discover in that other the spark of God."
You have chartered for me a path of sanity, serenity, and true generosity. I can only hope to be able to walk it!

P. Cookie

I have just experienced a wonderful and enlightening love story that has moved me deeply. Indeed, Paulo Coelho's "By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept" is a must read for people who have lost, found, or still seeking for love.

I have made some references to this novel in some of my past blogs. But now, I am writing more about it on my personal realizations after experiencing this enigmatic literary work.

I have jotted down some lines from the book that struck me the most, and taken note of my insights.

(1) But love is much like a dam:if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole stucture and soon no one will be able to control the force of the water.

Me: Falling in love is a beautiful experience. Deciding to fall in love is the hard part. But this analogy of love and a dam, explains it quite well. Once you start having the slightest thought that maybe love is possible or start seeing a person in a different light, all other feelings and ideas will start to rush in. Then you feel afraid of what you have just realized and try to thrust it away. No escape. Your heart and mind fight it out. Still, it doesn't matter which ends up victorious, because from then on, you will never see things the same way again.

(2) In real life, love has to be possible. Even if it is not returned right away, love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire.

Me: Love is forbearing. But sometimes the heart is impatient. This statement is still unclear to me. Maybe because, I have often easily given up in this quest for "winning over the person I desire". I guess this statement is experiential, only then will there be full understanding of it.

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

Me: How would we know if it is time to move on or that it is still worth another try? I have seen a lot with this dilemma, both from movies and through acquaintances. And indeed, seeing them in that state where they have no idea which way to take is truly heart breaking. I have been in both situations. I have waited. I have forgotten. But by some cosmic conspiracy, somehow I still find myself wondering, what if I took the other path? Forgetting is like a point of no return. If you choose to forget and leave, then you must stand by your decision, no matter how difficult it promises to be. Only by then will you be able to move on. In waiting, the clincher would be how long should you wait, and do you really have something to wait for. Either way, you will find yourself hurting at one point in time.

(4) What I remember is that love returned in the form of another man, new hopes and new dreams.

Me: The bible says that love is constant and that love is forever. Poets reiterate this in their masterpieces. Hopeless romantics sing about it. Then if this be the case, I have no reason to believe that love ever fails. It just transforms. This should be able to keep the flame of hope of finding the love of our lives burning through and through.

There you go. I am done with another book. A couple of weeks later, I would no longer fully remember what it was about or who the characters were. But somehow I would still recall the feelings I got as I was reading through it and my pot of insights has yet again been stirred and repleted.

P.S. The female character is Pilar. She was the one telling the story. But the male character remained nameless. Hmm... Or did I just forget his name already? ;)

(Wrote this review in 2004 right after reading the book. Review published on my (ex)blog @



At some point, we have each said through our tears, “I’m suffering for a love that’s not worth it.” We suffer because we feel we are giving more than we receive. We suffer because our love is going unrecognized. We suffer because we are unable to impose our own rules.

True love is an act of total surrender.

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

Every day, God gives us the sun - and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived the moment, that it doesn’t exist – that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention in their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seems the same to us. But that moment exists – a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.

I could have. What does this phrase mean? At any given moment in our lives, there are certain things that could have happened but didn’t. The magic moments go unrecognized, and then suddenly, the hand of destiny changes everything.

If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him. Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.

Dreams mean work.

Charlotte May

“To love is to lose control.”

Hm, this is a strange and hard one to review.
On the one hand, there is no plot, barely anything happens at all.
Yet on the other the writing is so lyrical, so peaceful, and tackles such interesting and important topics that it kept me reading.

Pilar is invited to a seminar by an old friend. Their reunion strikes a chord and changes them both. They travel together across parts of Spain and France, discussing life, love, faith and spirituality.
A lot of the focus is on Christian ideas, but there are also plenty of other forms of spirituality included.
At times it really made me stop and think, and the writing took me away from myself and into another world, a simpler world where faith is easier and the people are kinder.
Overall I did enjoy it, I liked some of the different ideas included - a major one being God portrayed as a woman, or ‘the mother'; a lot of interesting stuff. Reckon I’ll keep this one to reread someday as I’m sure there was plenty that I missed or went over my head.

“Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere.”

3.5 stars


this book was a joke.

horrible, pretentious, verbose, and yet basically content-free language - which in itself might be seen as quite an achievement if you're trying to do really bad writing.

and the content....?! uummmmm, empty, trite banalities and cliches. - i really dont understand how anyone who has even spent a *minute* reflecting on any philosophical question would get any sort of insight out of such a book!

as i remember it, the outline of the plot even sounded pretty promising.... sth about a woman and a man reuniting and falling in love again, i mean, you could work with that, right? but since the entire plot was nothing but a stage for his, as i mentioned, really very insightless "insights"..... it was not much help, either. especially, when he started the crazy religious talk, that i seem to remember, some crazy "miracle" stuff..... yeah, that was when i seriously lost patience with that book.

i honestly have to say, in terms of style, language, *and* content, this was probably the worst book i have ever finished reading.


“If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.”
― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Really!... Is this a joke??!! because I thought this was absolutely horrible.



*takes deep breath*
Okay , so I saw a GR update about this book and I was like yeah..!! I have read it and its a really good one but i couldnt remember the plot and everything. So I started searching for this book and for what it felt like a million years I found it and read it AGAIN.
Then I mentally slapped my brain for not remembering this book, and my brain was like -'yeah..!! Theres only one explanation for not remembering it, that the aliens must have had abducted me and wiped my memory clean'.
Just kidding (or not) ?

Anyways.. About the book,
You know about those book where you dont have to know anything about the book or its story or its characters, you just have to dive in. This is one of those book. Its the kind of book you'd either Love or Hate, theres no in between.

I Loved this book, I know some people hated it, maybe they didnt understand the whole concept( for lack of better word) but i adored it.

It has so many good quotes, I have highlighted almost whole book and now my book looks like a rainbow. (Yes I use different color highlighters everytime).

The book is about loss, seeking love, finding love around you, keeping your love, your beliefs. Yes many people can argue about somethings in this book and thats okay, everything has two sides, its upto you how you look at it. Even somethings left me questioning too but thats okay. Maybe we are allowed to have some doubts and questions.

I dont know what else to say about this book, its just that you have to trust me, and just dive in. And i promise you won't come out empty hand, you'd either Learn or Understand or Find something, I can gurantee you that.

Ahmad Sharabiani

Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei = By the river piedra I sat down ond wept, Paulo Coelho
By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept (Portuguese: Na margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei) is the first part in Coelho's trilogy "On the Seventh Day". The other two parts are Veronika Decides to Die and The Devil and Miss Prym. Their subject is a week in the life of someone ordinary to whom something extraordinary happens. The story focuses on Pilar, an independent young woman, who is frustrated with the grind of university life and looking for greater meaning. Pilar's life takes a turn when she meets up with a childhood sweetheart, who is now a spiritual teacher and a rumoured healer and miracle worker, and sets off with him on a journey through the French Pyrenees. Her companion now has to make a choice between his calling and his love for Pilar.
عنوانها: در ساحل رودخانه پیدرا نشستم و گریه کردم؛ کنار رود پیدرا نشستم و گریه کردم؛ کنار رود پیدرا نشستم و گریستم؛ کنار رودخانه ی پیدرا نشسته ام و گریه میکنم؛ کنار رودخانه ی پیدرا نشسته ام و گریه کردم؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه فوریه سال 2004 میلادی
عنوان 1: در ساحل پیدرا نشستم و گریه کردم؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: دل آرا قهرمان؛ تهران، میترا، 1375؛ در 176 ص، شابک: 9645998093؛ چاپ سوم 1375؛ چاپ چهارم تا ششم 1376؛ چاپ هفتم 1377؛ هشتم 1378؛ نهم 1379؛ دهم 1380؛ دوازدهم 1378؛ شابک: 9789645998095؛ موضوع: داستانهای برزیلی در باره زندگی دختر جوانی به نام پیلار - قرن 20 م
عنوان 2: کنار رود پیدرا نشستم و گریه کردم؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: دل آرا قهرمان؛ تهران، میترا، 1375؛ در 176 ص، شابک: 9645998093؛ چاپ سوم 1375؛ چاپ چهارم تا ششم 1376؛ چاپ هفتم 1377؛ هشتم 1378؛ نهم 1379؛ دهم 1380؛ دوازدهم 1378؛ شابک: 9789645998095؛ موضوع: داستانهای برزیلی - قرن 20 م
با عنوان 2: مترجم: میترا عرفانیان؛ مشهد، آوای رعنا، 1388، در 160 ص؛ شابک: 9642578382؛
با عنوان 2: مترجم: میترا میرشکار (سیاهکل)؛ تهران، پر، 1386؛ در 192 ص؛ شابک: 9648007195؛ چاپ دوم 1387؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، نوین، 1392، در 192 ص؛ شابک: 9789646325487؛
عنوان 3: کنار رود پیدرا نشستم و گریستم؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: آرش حجازی؛ تهران، کاروان، 1381؛ در 219 ص، مصور، شابک: 9647033192؛ چاپ سوم 1381؛ چاپ ششم 1383؛ چاپ نهم 1386؛
با عنوان 3 و 4: مترجم: سوسن (شاهین) اردکانی؛ تهران، نگارستان کتاب، 1383، در 219 ص؛ شابک: ایکس 964815516؛ چاپ سوم 1389؛
عنوان 4: کنار رود پیدرا نشسته ام و گریه میکنم؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: حسین نعیمی؛ تهران، روایت، 1375؛ در 306 ص، چاپ دیگر: تهران، ثالث، 1377؛ در 306 ص؛ شابک: 9646404065؛ چاپ سوم 1379؛ چهارم 1386؛ چاپ پنجم 1389؛ شابک: 9789646404069؛ از همین مترجم با عنوان 5 : کنار رود پیدرا نشسته ام و گریه کردم؛ تهران، ثالث، 1392؛ چاپ ششم در 306 ص، شابک: 9789646404069؛
داستان یک هفته از زندگی دختر جوانی به نام پیلار اشاره داردد و به خوانشگران میگوید در دوره های کوتاهی ممکن است دگرگونیهای ژرفی در زندگی انسان رخ دهد. نویسنده میگوید عشق میتواند مردمان را به دوزخ یا بهشت ببرد، اما همیشه عاشقان را به جایی که باید میرساند. عشق میان دو شخصیت اصلی داستان، زندگی آنها را به راهی بدل میکند که به خدا میرسد. عشق مریم مقدس نیز در سراسر داستان، آنها را دربرمیگیرد و نمیگذارد احساس را وانهند. پیلار می‌اندیشد تمام‌ آن‌چه‌ را که‌ در زندگی‌ برایش‌ اهمیت‌ داشته، در یک‌ هفته، سخاوتمندانه‌ به‌ او ارزانی‌ شده، بنابراین‌ قلبش‌ را به‌ روی‌ عشق‌ می‌گشاید و نور عشق‌ بر او می‌تابد. او می‌پذیرد که‌ معشوقش‌ پس از مدتی... ا. شربیانی

Fiona MacDonald

A beautiful experience. Reading Paulo Coelho makes my heart so happy and full, and soaking up the text of this awe-inspiring story has changed my perspective of life itself. The story is much more than a narrative of a love story, it is about following dreams, believing in yourself, supporting others and never giving up. It is about being unique and chsding your own path, instead of a path made by others. It might sound cliche but it makes so much sense. Coelho writes in such an exquisite way. I believe that this book has the ability to change me as a person.


This book wasn't even close to as good as The Alchemist, and it seems as though it was translated really poorly too. If I could read Portugese I would try it, but since I'm limited to English or Spanish, I think I'm done with trying to make this book better than my original reaction deemed it.

It wasn't a very cohesive story, the whole "feminine face of God" thing was cool, but fairly random and not well elaborated, the "love story" was sappy and pathetic.

It is a super short book, especially when considering the size of the font and the margins, and yet I felt like I was creeping through it. I finished it, as other reviewers have mentioned, solely for the sake of finishing it. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't I be more like Trish and just let sucky books go without having to finish them?

Anyway, save yourself from the self-flagellation that will come when you don't feel like finishing it, and don't even start it.