Being a borderline obsessed fan of Paulo Coelho’s, let me warn you from the start that this review may be biased.
It was on a lonesome night that I suddenly realised that I forgot the essence of his latest to my collection, Adultery. I found this a bit strange, as all of you who are familiar with Coelho, be it one because of one read or more, know that his books leave you with a lasting emotion. The emotion varies: you have some who claim they will never touch a Coelho again, and then there’s Me. Who truly believes that Paulo Coelho is one of the few writers whose words I will always go back to on a stormy night or when I need some guidance.
That being said, as I began re-reading Adultery: I was intrigued. Nothing about it seemed familiar. Not the tone of the book, not his interpretations of love, loss, confusion or any of the themes that he has approached here.
Linda, has a life that many dream of. She lives in Geneva, married with two wonderful kids, is a successful journalist and has a lot of friends. But she is depressed. She has sleepless nights and one day, in an interview with an old fling, now a rising politician, she gets down on her knees and unzips his pants.
You’d imagine the plot has reached it’s peak. We have all the essentials required for an exciting story, with the Master of Words and Feelings writing it himself.
Adultery. Love. Family. Success. Sex. Depression.
Alas, while all topics are touched upon, the depth that Coelho goes with his characters seems to be lacking here. And this is borderline upsetting. There are hints made about how her life unravels, an interview with a Shaman, a heart-to-heart with a friend and of course, a confrontation with her husband and the politician boyfriend. But none leave you satisfied. And somewhere, towards the end, as Linda takes a leap (while paragliding) her sense of relief as she touches the ground and symbolically, reality, it feels too rushed. As if the pages of the book had to come to an end.
Coelho has approached taboo topics before, so this has come as an unpleasant surprise to me. But that being said, I am always a fan of his work and there are some sentences within that made me sit up and my heart start racing.
“Today I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change and the equal terror that everything might carry on exactly the same for the rest of my days.”
I would recommend you read this book, however, if this was to be your first Coelho, then maybe you can reach out for Zahir, The Alchemist, Like A Flowing River or The Devil and Miss Prym – these are excellent books that will ease you into the magic of Coelho.