“Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you are” The subtitle of Paulo Coelho’s novel, cuts to the chase and summarises in a sentence the life lesson contained in Adultery.
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho has developed a huge following since his novel, The Alchemist, became an international bestseller. A couple of years ago, I was invited to review Manuscript Found in Accra — a contemplative series of stories in which the citizens of Jerusalem in 1099 explore a series of questions relating to love, jealousy and fear and in the process uncover wisdom and lessons for life. It was my first experience of Coelho and gave me an insight into what makes his work so appealing to many people.
Paulo is a beautiful writer who presents thoughtful and wise insights about life and living that serve as a form of consolation for the soul. Manuscript Found in Accra, in particular, is a book to keep and seek out in times of stress and trouble.
Coelho’s latest novel, Adultery, is a parable where plot — and to some extent character — take second place to the moral of the tale. It’s the story of a bored and slightly depressed journalist, Linda, with a perfect husband and children who lives a privileged life in Switzerland yet is bored and dissatisfied. The plot begins is based around what happens when Linda comes across a former boyfriend and embarks on an affair.
Linda is not a particularly sympathetic character yet she has characteristics that many readers will recognise either in themselves or in others. She seeks meaning by questioning her own thinking, by reading and by talking to friends. She knows that she has a good and loving husband, yet she longs for something more. She even consults a ‘shaman’ or wise man in her quest for meaning yet, ironically, it is her husband who ultimately shows her that by allowing herself to fully lose control she can begin to find herself and unlock emotional healing from within.
Adultery by Paulo Coelho is published by Random House. [Disclosure: An Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) was made available via Netgalley.com for the purpose of this review.]