The Witch of Portobello

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The new novel from Paulo Coelho, bestselling author of The Alchemist and The Devil and Miss Prym - the story of an adopted woman's spiritual and sensual awakening. the story of a woman's spiritual and sensual awakening ...Who is Athena? the orphan abandoned by her gypsy mother in transylvania. the child taken to Beirut by her adoptive parents. the clerk working in a bank in London. the successful real estate agent in Dubai. the priestess of Portobello Road ...this is the chronicle of Athena's life, told by the people who ...

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reviewer09

Oct 27, 2008

The Witch of portobello « an unachieved novel

The Witch of portobello « an unachieved novel !! »
First published by Harper Collins in 2007, this paulo coelho?s complex and all-mysterious novel could be associated in its writing style and content to coelho?s previous fiction « the Devil and Miss Prym » in terms of narrative elements themed on a sort of « socratic dialogues » insisting on the notion of what is morally fit to justify one ideal ? and is it worth ?
Initially written in portuguese , the translation to English performed by Margaret Jull Costa was excellent , just smoothened, both vocabulary and syntactic structure of sentences to meet a non-native English speaking international readership.
The composition technique is of a very basic narrative style represented in a titled chapters , introducing in each chapter a character , his occupation , and eventually his own personal experoence with the heroine.Another striking feature in the novel?s structure is the time-shifting technique , in which the events are set into different time sequences .
Paulo coelho as a truly global writer conquered a universal readership ,different in orientations ; « religious, dogamatic, and political credos. »as well as aspirations « spirtiual , and moral convictions ».However, they are all aiming to further clarify the definition of human truth dimmension !, he is featuring the heroine « sherine khalil » known as « Athena » an incredibly complex character on the limits of schizophrenia ! a permissive woman with a mystical trend associated with witchcraft practices embodied in exagerated ritual practices of psychedelic dances . As a matter of facts, Athena discovered this new inner energy in a strange dance, which in turn , she taught to a group of depressed people , it is no secret that unconventional practices in coelho?s novel is a reflection of his own personal path of life.
The core baseline of « The Witch Of Portobello »is not awakening new sensations for the search of ultimate spiritual freedom, it is rather Athena?s quest for her unknown identity , being a Romanian orphan,braught up in lebanese family.
The second most imporatnt character is Athena?s lover and father of her five years old son. A dane classmate,who played the rational role , when Athena is overstepping the border .If one regualr reader of coelho?s novels endeavours to analyze the human nature of the heroes ; he may notice the following ;vanity , greed ,and to some extent narcissism , that is why Athena?s lover was very concerned , he faced a clash of emotions ranging from compassion , love, sympathy towards Athena , but also an extreme fear due to her increasing carelessness toward her son,he judged that she was an unsafe mother , her son was frequently abandoned during the music therapy initiation gatherings.
The author did not want to insist on making a correlation (which is obvious) between the state of Athena?s hysterical paranoiac bahavior , and the background that potentially influenced on her deeds, i.e : a rebellious nature sourced from a racial biased prejudice she underwent due to her gypsy origins, a stolen childhood, and a demonstrated nervousness when invoking any name of middle eastern consonance, and eventually an ongoing confusion in the truth on her quest of identity.
Naturally, the idea or more specifically the recurring theme of soul?s inner clash was just the norm in coelho?s standard of mystical issues, which is not a mere obssession , but a deliberately conveyed idea occuring under the natural course of the novel?s events.
Athena was found dead in a london park , A suicide ?! A plotted murder ?! her brutal detah remained a mystery , is it a martyrdom associated with any of her religious convictions ?is it a sacrifice filled for an ideal she believed in ?!presumeably , the ideal of a boundless spiritual emancipation.
In sum , the author dealt with an unfrequent story of an outcats narcissic woman of a starnge nature, bearing a dual identity , and deep moral convictions justified by immoral chocking practices, paulo coelho?s once again lifted a taboo ; promoting paganism and witchcraft .surprisingly , the subject of going beyond the limits and transcendental description was presented in a very soft version , conversely to his novel ?Veronica decides to die? in which certain excerpts may brutally chock those who are of fragile sensitiveness.

Vikas

Jun 23, 2008

Scintillating, Enigmatic

SPOILER WARNING: This content might spoil your interest in the book or may give you hint about the story of the book though i have tried my best to keep it very generic.
However read it at your own risk.
Paulo has again part enchanted me and part intimidated me, intimidated by his acute acumen and deeper understanding of the subtlest emotion which will never be measured by any mindful intervention or seasoned philosophy of physics or metaphysics, enchanted by his ideas and the way he unravels the bitter and at the same time pleasant truth of life : though simple yet confusing till we open our mind, till we set our soul free and till we invariable accept the supremacy of wisdom over some cliche mechanism of mind.
As a nonconformist Paulo cohelo believes in his own ideology despite of having looked down upon on any other existing and that makes him the elevated soul.
He deserved to be appreciated for his impeccable understanding of LOVE and also for his unputdownable syllogism that he uses to substantiate his idea which are not coerced by any standard just in the form of some facts which you decipher if you intend to.
In his latest novel he has again shown his sharp literary claws which are potent enough to tear apart any sordid ideology that accentuate human as a being conforming to the rules of society and acting as a puppet in the hands of some devours of freedom making using our nonchalance as a tool to serve their own greed.
And that's not the end to it, that's rather a beginning , begining of a worlds devoid of rules and tentes, comecncemtn and evoulution of an ideaology based on free will.
What is Love? is it Desire? Is it a phantom who just cripple mind for some time.
LOVE is in peace , love is in sanity, love is in freedom, love is accepting the very emotion as a inseparable part of our identity. Desires needed to be satisfied. We can not alter their nature and if try to do that they ceases to be desire. But love is not in desiring, it is the recognition of the fact that we are capable to love and to be loved , it has an invocation of divine powers with in us , it is the realization of one true and crystalline self that is so serene so unruffled.
Starting from his quest of chasing our dreams, en route exploring the sacred nature of SEX and LOVE, discovering the power of freedom and expression, exploring the possibilities of being insane with Veronica, Coelho has again appeared with a different flavor of LOVE.The female face of GOD.
I would say that LOVE is an exaggerated emotion in the contemporary which is encumbered with various interpretations and cumbersome metaphysical theories.
Love is revelation of one's own self. Love is manifestation of one's own power. Love is realization of one's capability of loving and be loved unconditionally devoid of any preconceived notion or outwardly fear. Fear denies love and love denies fear. Both are a flux of energy and if at all we need to waste it, let's waste it in LOVE.
I would find myself callow at this point of time while commenting upon any of the philosophical postulate of Mr Paulo because life has got many more things to offer me and i have plenty of things left to offer to LIFE.
Overall Paulo his enigmatic , if i assume that only .000001 percent people in this world know life and know LOVE , he is indisputable be among those veterans and intelligentsia.
REAL LOVE IS COMPOSED OF ECSTASY AND AGONY.
ECSTASY means standing out of yourself and agony means pain trouble and tussle with yourself , LOVE is a battlefield where everyone involved got to win ironically,

To know more...read on..
HAPPY READING...

Metta

Jun 16, 2007

Great idea, disappointing execution

My first Coelho book, and very likely my last. A good idea and a brilliant concept for presenting it are badly hindered by two things:

1. Unlikable characters. Readers don't have to adore - or even hate - all the characters in a book for it to be effective. But if all the characters repeatedly inspire a reaction that boils down to "Shut UP, you whiny brat," a book will definitely struggle, and will likely sink without a ripple to mark its passing.

2. Catty shots against Paganism. These characters are heavily into Goddess Spirituality just dripping with Pagan trappings, and the author still takes at least two really cheap, spiteful shots at Paganism. If you despise your source material, you're better off finding different sources than writing a book that drips with that disdain.

What struck me almost immediately is the attempt to modernize Dion Fortune's books - which fails because Coelho keeps all of Fortune's problems (especially her abrasive characters) and adds a few more to the mix.

myrradine

Jun 3, 2007

A young woman's self-awakening

Paolo Coelho is gifted with the power to inspire readers with his spiritual-themed works [The Alchemist, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Veronika Decides to Die etc]. In his latest offering , the premise is interesting...we have a young woman who is dead at the beginning of the book. The events of her life are put together through a series of first-person accounts. As a young orphan, the girl who comes to call herself Athena is raised by a Lebanese couple, and finds herself blessed with spiritual powers, leading to her journey of self-discovery. She finds a mentor in a woman, Edda who helps her and the story unfolds...leading to Athena's fall and finally, her death. As with all of Coelho's works, the spiritual journey of the main character is the focus here, and this book will appeal to all those who are interested in the idea of spirituality and self-discovery/awakening.

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