The Witch of Portobello
How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of who we are?
That is the central question of international bestselling author Paulo Coelho's profound new work, The Witch of Portobello. It is the story of a mysterious woman named Athena, told by the many who knew her well—or hardly at all. Like The Alchemist, The Witch of Portobello is the kind of story that will transform the way readers think about love, passion, joy, and sacrifice.
Multimillion-seller Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym, etc.) returns with another uncanny fusion of philosophy, religious miracle and moral parable. The Portobello of the title is London's Portobello Road, where Sherine Khalil, aka Athena, finds the worship meeting she's leading where she becomes an omniscient goddess named Hagia Sophia disrupted by a Protestant protest. Framed as a set of interviews conducted with those who knew Athena, who is dead as the book opens, the story recounts her birth in Transylvania to a Gypsy mother, her adoption by wealthy Lebanese Christians; her short, early marriage to a man she meets at a London college (one of the interviewees); her son Viorel's birth; and her stint selling real estate in Dubai. Back in London in the book's second half, Athena learns to harness the powers that have been present but inchoate within her, and the story picks up as she acquires a "teacher" (Deidre O'Neill, aka Edda, another interviewee), then disciples (also interviewed), and speeds toward a spectacular end. Coelho veers between his signature criticism of modern life and the hydra-headed alternative that Athena taps into. Athena's earliest years don't end up having much plot, but the second half's intrigue sustains the book.
Very heartwarming read
I’m such a sucker for Paulho’s ability to add subtle life lessons in his stories. To find out that her boyfriend, whom I also assumed was a lie, was actually real was shocking to me. But it made me realize that maybe I put too much pressure and anxiety into my relationship. That maybe I can just let it be. It always sounds too good to be true. Love is, is a sweet way of relaxing the mind when it comes to the distortions and pains that accompany love.
Another great Coelho story!
Just finished it in few days! Great story , great message, great characters!