A novel from Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist.
A stranger arrives in the small mountain village. He carries with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars.
Burying these in the vicinity, the stranger strikes up a curious friendship with a young woman from the village – Miss Prym. His mission is to discover whether human beings are essentially good or evil.
In this stunning novel, Paulo Coelho’s unusual protagonist sets the town a moral challenge from which they may never recover. A fascinating meditation on the human soul, The Devil and Miss Prym illuminates the reality of good and evil within us all, and our uniquely human capacity to choose between them.
“His Books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people” THE TIMES
About the author
Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil and has become one of the most widely read and loved authors in the world. Especially renowned for The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, he has sold more than 85 million books worldwide and has been translated into 63 languages. The recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France's Legion d'Honneur, Paulo Coelho was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002. He writes a weekly column syndicated throughout the world.
New to the U.S. but first published in Europe in 1992, Coelho's latest (following the bestselling The Zahir) is an old school parable of good and evil. When a stranger enters the isolated mountain town of Viscos with the devil literally by his side, the widow Berta knows (because her deceased husband, with whom she communicates daily, tells her) that a battle for the town's souls has begun. The stranger, a former arms dealer, calls himself Carlos and proposes a wager to the town: if someone turns up murdered within a week, he'll give the town enough gold to make everyone wealthy. Carlos ensures people believe him by choosing the town bartender, the orphan Chantal Prym, as his instrument: he shows her where the gold is, confides that his wife and children have been executed by kidnapper terrorists (remember: 1992), and that he is hoping his belief that people are basically evil will be vindicated. Chantal would like nothing better than to disappear with the gold herself and thus faces her own dilemmas. Add in corrupt townspeople (including a priest), sometimes biting social commentary and, distastefully, a very heavily stereotyped recurring town legend about an Arab named Ahab, and you've got quite a little Garden of Eden potboiler. But the unsatisfying ending lets everyone off the hook and leaves questions hanging like ripe apples.