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.
|Publish Date:||Feb 2008|
|Number of Pages:||22|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.53|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.44 x 0.73 x 8.0|
Author Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 24, 1947. He attended a Jesuit school. As a teenager, Coelho wanted to become a writer. His parents were not in favor of this decision because they wanted something more substantial and secure for him (his father was an engineer). At 17, Coelho's introversion and opposition to his parents led them to commit him to a mental institution (he escaped three times before being released at the age of 20). He then enrolled in law school because of their aspirations for him.
At that point, he abandoned his ideas of becoming a writer. He stayed in law school for one year. In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life. On the path, he had a spiritual awakening, which he described autobiographically in his book, The Pilgrimage. Before becoming a full-time author, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist.
He wrote song lyrics for many famous performers in Brazilian music, such as El is Regina, Rita Lee, and Raul Seixas. His first book, he'll Archives, was published in 1982. He has written over 25 books since then including The Alchemist, Brida, The Fifth Mountain, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, and Like a Flowing River. He has won numerous awards for his work including Las Pergolas Prize 2006 by the Association of Mexican Booksellers, The Budapest Prize, Nielsen Gold Book Award, and the Grand Prix Litteraire Elle. In 1996, Coelho founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides aid to children and elderly people with financial problems. In September 2007, Coelho was named a Messenger of Peace to the United Nations.
Many people tell the story of Athena, the "witch of Portobello Road", who was abandoned by her gypsy mother, raised by adoptive parents in Beirut, and ended up living all over the globe. Look for the prepublication campaign at Starbucks.
In best-selling novelist Coelho's (The Alchemist) latest, Athena Khalil foresees civil war in her hometown, Beirut; moves to London; and finds ecstasy dancing to Siberian percussion beats. After traveling to Transylvania to meet her birth mother, a Gypsy, for the first time, she begins a spiritual quest of learning through teaching and off-the-cuff rituals to break routine. By dancing against the beat, Athena conjures Hagia Sofia, an alternate part of her who can speak with ghosts and see auras, and she prophesies for a growing audience.
Athena's story is narrated in turns by many characters, none of whom is well established or provokes empathy; however, they do provide a clear understanding of Athena's character and a good vehicle through the scene changes, from a bank job in London to calligraphy in a Middle Eastern desert to Gypsies in Transylvania. With all the trappings of otherworldly intrigue (e.g., a love triangle, a foredoomed adoption, mysterious pasts, and foreign travels), the plot is tired until the end, when the witch is revealed as an unsettled, egotistical martyr performing for a cult like crowd in a warehouse on London's touristy Portobello Road. Coelho's spiritual fables risk becoming commonplace, as changes in scenery may no longer be enough to inspire the awe his books solicit. Purchase for likely demand from Coelho's fan base.
[See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/07.] - Anna Katterjohn, Library Journal
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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.
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