Sunday, 5 October 2014

Review: Adultery by Paulo Coelho

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho has a longstanding reputation of writing novels that focus on personal spirituality and philosophy and is best known for his novel The Alchemist which (according to wikipedia,) has sold an excess of 65 million copies and has been translated into 80 different languages. His latest novel, Adulterio has recently been translated from Portuguese into English and is now available in Australia as a trade paperback and published under the English title Adultery

Adultery tells the story of Linda, a woman in her mid-thirties who is interested in finding personal and spiritual fulfilment. On the surface, Linda would appear to have it all--a loving husband, a good career and two children. Lately, though, Linda has been feeling a deep apathy about her life and seeks to try and fill the emptiness inside of her by embarking on a very foolish thing--an affair with an ex-boyfriend turned politician who is really only in it for the sex and who at times treats her brutally. The notion of the book is that sometimes in order to heal oneself, one has to feel hurt first.

Adultery is a book rich in philosophy and ideals, but the execution is somewhat lacking. Linda did not come across as a character that was easy for me to believe and identify with and her reasons for feeling apathetic about her life were somewhat shallow. I feel also that the author did not have a strong enough grasp on women and their secret desires--Linda's initiation of an affair with Jacob through the offer of fellatio for example. This book could have been greatly improved if the author had spent more time developing the character--chiefly in explaining her apathy and her desire to be hurt. A number of scenes felt clumsily done--such as Linda's attempts to frame Jacob's wife with drugs. That said, there were some interesting parallels with classic Literature--Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde--and I enjoyed the author's descriptions of Geneva, where the novel is set. 

This is not the author's best work. Not really recommended.