Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Witch Of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

I hardly ever read Paulo Coelho books. I was disappointed by his world-renowned book The Alchemist. And then came The Aleph. But there is one book, one book that is different from every other Paulo Coelho’s book. The Witch of Portobello. It is a very different form of a book. It requires your full attention and you will be pleased. It is the only Coelho’s book I am ever going to recommend to you.

This the story of Athena, a mysterious woman, the story itself told by many different flesh entities who knew her or did not know her at all. She was born in Romania and her parents, a successful industrialist family of Beirut adopted her, as their much-loved, much-wanted daughter, who grew in wisdom and beauty. From an early age she had a strong religious vocation and knew all the gospels by heart, which was a blessing and a curse.

Athena had the secret desire to become a saint someday. She had everything one can ask for, and yet it didn’t satisfy her restless soul. Her adopted mother, who was always ready to take care of her, give her all the love and comfort she could and want to see her win in whatever she does though didn’t understand her. Early marriage to a man she meets at a London college, her son birth, leaves church on which she had deep faith from her childhood.

In the book’s second half, Athena learns to harness the powers that have been present within her, and the story picks up as she acquires a teacher, then disciples, and speeds toward a spectacular end. The book is complex and challenging and reader will get indulge with it if he provides an amount of attention to it.  Throughout the novel, Coelho’s words verifies the phrase: “How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of whom we are?”

Coelho’s focuses on multiple narrative process that is unsatisfying at times as they discuss their different opinions on the protagonist, Athena. Due to multiple narration the characters are never explored much in-depth even though they are the immense part of the plot.

3 out of 5

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28 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Witch Of Portobello by Paulo Coelho”

      1. Thanks for sharing 🙂 i remember reading Veronika Decides to Die but because it has been more than 10 yrs since I read it, i cannot remember the story, all i know was that it was interesting. 🙂

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  1. This was the one “Paulo Coelho” book that disappointed me. I guess I just didn’t understand where it was going; what he was getting at. Your review makes me consider rereading it, but I’d still rather not. :-/

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    1. The multiple narration doesn’t work that well. But this work of Coelho has depth that his other works like The Aleph lack. It’s upto you to read or not to read, but if someday if you want to give it a second thought to this one, I would say don’t hesitate. 🙂

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      1. Could be. I hope one day I will be tempted to read it and who knows? I might just change my view. 🙂 Thanks for this review!

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  2. A paolo Cuelho novel isn’t my cup of tea either. I like her The Devil and Ms Prym though. Might give this book a shot too 🙂

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  3. I have read 3 or 4 of his book, but i don’t get it what all the song and dance is about. Not read this one though, maybe if i can borrow a copy, I will give it a go.

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      1. I have read Veronica decides to die, the alchemist, eleven minutes, and by the river piedra i sat down, but gave up. He’s not a bad writer, but he’s odd.

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  4. Veronica decides to die and this The Wtich of Portobello are my fav ones. I didn’t really like Alchemist and other books. But people around me always be like, “How can you not like Alchemist?” -.-

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