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About the author
Paulo Coelho is renowned for his work ‘The Alchemist’. Ironically, when he first presented this novel, the publisher was hardly impressed. Subsequent editions were stopped after 900 copies were sold. A few years later, he wrote another book called ‘Bride’, (yet to be translated into English) which got critical acclaim, and became so popular that Harper Collins decided to represent him. It was then that he became an icon.
Wrapped in the trappings of a fictional novel, all his stories ring true and are woven with a subtle message inserted beautifully. The characters seem very realistic, and you can relate with them on a personal level.
The Alchemist took the world by storm and was translated into 42 languages. Coelho won numerous awards for this novel.
About the book
The Devil and Miss Prym is a parable centered around a community consumed by greed, cowardice and fear; a stranger persecuted and haunted by the ghosts of his painful past and a young lady who is in search of happiness. In one eventful week, they have to face questions on life, power and death and choose a path, either good or evil. Which one would they choose?
In a remote village named Viscos in Brazil, a stranger named Carlos, accompanied by the devil, arrives at the village carrying a fortune of gold. The morality of human beings plagues him, and to find out if they are essentially good or evil, he proposes a wager to the villagers that if someone is found murdered within a week’s time then the people of the village will be rewarded with enough gold to take care of their own for the next two generations. As proof that he has the eleven gold bars, he shows it to Chantal Prym, a beautiful barmaid who is bored with the idyllic scenery and slow pace of life.
This proposition has thrown the town folks into a grave and moral crisis where everyone, including the priest, has been affected and their decision will change their lives forever.
Paulo Coelho dramatises the struggle between good and evil as the struggle of every soul between light and darkness. Having the courage to be different and to master the fear that prevents us from our true living is relevant even to our everyday strife in the rat race to our dreams. Coelho has very rightfully quoted “A story of one man is a story of all men”.
The Devil and Miss Prym is an emotionally charged story in which the integrity of human beings meets a horrifying test.
Book: The Devil and Miss Prym
Author: Paulo Coelho
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2007
Pages: 224p (Paperback)
Price: Rs250 (paperback)
The Brazilian-born magical realist Paulo Coelho popularly known as the author of the masterful fable The Alchemist, a book that has made Coelho a true juggernaut of modern literature There is no denying to the popular appeal of Coelho’s work. It is almost humanly impossible to have missed out or not to be affected upon reading The Alchemist, but in recent times, his books have mostly become nothing more than populist mythical tales about spiritual enlightenment.
Brida is about a young Irish woman who, in the early 1980s, follows the spiritual journey and begins a quest to learn the teachings of the “tradition of the moon and the sun”. During the Journey she comes across a magus in a wild forest where she is forced to learn the teachings of the “dark night”. She develops a close relationship with her spiritual advisor Wikka and engages in a clichéd and generally uninteresting spiritual journey from the lost soul to the white witch. She equips herself with the various exercises of the witches. She understands the past and the beauty of the world as she moves towards being initiated as a witch.
The book is a collection of knowledge and experience, without one the other has no use. The book has a meditative and a poetic rhythm, the vibrations of which can be felt even after finishing the book. To be frank, its really tough to express in words about the book by compressing its beauty. Even a Photograph cant express it. The emotions are so true and raw that, identification with the character is very easy.
After reading this Book, I am left with a feeling that reality is something we all seek in this mortal world. Love, life, living, passion, mystery, history, story, magic, music, rhythm, beauty, infinity is the simplest way to summaries it.
To anyone not interested in religion (both Christianity and witchcraft), tarot or spiritual teachings, Brida is a novel to be avoided. It has virtually none of the lyrical prose of Coelho’s earlier books and seems like rehashed spiritual ideas from stories the novelist has already written. Some of the characters are interesting and the story still has momentary flashes of philosophical brilliance.
Author : Paulo Coelho
Publication : Harper Collins Publishers
Pages : 272 pages (paperback)
Price : Rs. 295.00 (INR)