Friday, July 06, 2007

The Witch of Portobello

The Witch of Portobello is the latest novel of Paulo Coelho, a writer I have admired for sometime. He writes for a certain type of audience, one that does not mind mysticism and perhaps a bit of New Age sentimentality tossed together with Coelho's version of Catholicism. I previously read his novels The Alchemist and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. I enjoyed them both. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for The Witch of Portobello.

In this novel we meet Athena through the numerous voices of people who knew her. Athena is a woman on a spiritual quest who is mislabeled a witch. As the novel opens, we are informed that her life will end with a brutal murder.

The narrative structure of the various characters intertwining to tell a story is clever, but the writing is often over simplistic or fractured. This book is far inferior to his earlier novels I am familiar with. I can only recommend it to his diehard fans.


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