I read today in the internet a complimentary review to the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. I publish here what have to say on this writer.
Literature should be judged by literary criteria. The criterion to evaluate a literary text was always aesthetic.
They are appraised:
1) cohesion and coherence of the text (taking into account the author's proposal);
2) use of stylistic resources (metaphors, alliterations, paradoxes, etc...)
3) grammatical and linguistic innovations;
4) aesthetic use of linguistic variations despised by the formal grammar;
5) the form as the text dialogues with other texts of the literary tradition;
6) innovation of the theme or innovation in the treatment of a known theme;
7) the degree of "opening" of the work ("opening" should be understood here in the sense that gave him Umberto Eco).
Paulo Coelho is an accountant of mystic histories, no a writer. His work doesn't have any literary value.
I am bachelor in Brazilian Literature and I am concerned when somebody mentions Paulo Coelho, because he can be wrongly considered the best Brazilian writer. Paulo Coelho is just the Brazilian writer more sold now, no the best Brazilian writer.
The book is an unique product. The book is merchandise (for the editor and for the writer) but it is also or it can be a work of art (for the readers and specialists). The time of the market is one, the time of the art is other. The criterion of the market is unjust, because the book more sold not always it is the best book of a historical moment. This always happens and in Brazil we have several examples.
Novelist Graça Aranha was considered a literary and editorial phenomenon in the beginning of the century XX. Lima Barreto was considered a smaller author and their books sold a little. However, today the books of Graça Aranha is forgotten and the one of Lima Barreto are printed periodically and he is studied as the best representative of that literary period.
I won't discuss any reader's taste. Each one reads what can or what likes. I just try to indicate more refined Brazilian writers for more demanding readers.
Paulo Coelho is what exists of worst in the modern Brazilian literature. His texts don't have any aesthetic and literary value. Paulo Coelho is a phenomenon of the propaganda and his work is destined to the decline after his death.
At the present time we haveonly two great writers in Brazil: Nélida Piñon (Argentinean naturalized Brazilian) and Lígia Fagundes Teles.