"The lad wandered through the desert for forty days"
The Temptation of Christ - Credit: Ary Scheffer
This has clear parallels to Jesus’s 40 days and nights in the desert, during which he resists the temptations offered by Satan. However, the theme of the desert re-emerges in the bible on a number of occasions. Its associations are often with a rite of passage and a period of spiritual initiation.
Coelho confesses his love for deserts and open spaces in nature: ‘I love empty spaces, like the steppes, the sea and deserts, where you get totally minimalist and every detail is enhanced. Deserts fascinate me, and I know a few very well, like the Sahara and the Mojave in California.’ The Sunday Times, April 29, 2007