Really annoying characters

The Zahir - Paulo Coelho, Margaret Jull Costa

I've heard great things about this author, from people who I consider to have good taste in writing. I have a feeling I just picked the wrong book to start on from him. Looking at the other reviews I see the indication that this is not as good as his other work. So, I'll try something else at some point.

I had high expectations with this, but it was pretty disappointing. It moved slowly. I immediately, intensely disliked the main character. He was so incredibly self-absorbed, obsessed with his "freedom" which seemed to mean he drifted from one commitment to another, and cheated on everybody he was ever with, but then couldn't get over the person he lost. There is a very shallow sort of spirituality in the main character and in many of the other characters. When Mikhail was introduced I hoped the book would become more interesting and maybe I might find a character to like, but he came across as equally self-absorbed, along with heaps of pretentious, pompous, shallow faux spirituality.

I could not stand any of the characters. Not a single one of them. The author's writing style is lovely, and maybe if he's writing about people who aren't completely insufferable I might enjoy something of his.