Coelho discusses his new novel with the NYT. Its title, “The Zahir”, the NYT says, “is an Arab concept borrowed from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges”. Coelho defines it as “a thought or idea that gradually becomes obsessional”. No. El-Zahir is a Sufi concept, and means “the outward”, which signifies the outward manifestation of the divine. Borges fabulously dealt with many Sufi concepts in his story, “The Zahir,” and in the collection The Aleph, in general.
So Coelho didn’t do his research. And neither did the Times. Shocking.