Adultery by Paulo Coelho


Adultery is a story about a woman in her thirties who is starting to become depressed and question her ability to ever be happy. She has got a husband who loves her, two children, a successful career, and everything money can buy, yet nothing makes her excited or passionate. Until she meets her high-school boyfriend and starts cheating on her husband, that is.

Rating: 2/5

Although I feel utmost respect for Paulo Coelho, I have never viewed him as a great writer, particularly masterful storyteller or a profound philosopher, as a lot of people do because of his ability to put tough topics into generic and understandable words that are appealing to masses. Not to say I have not read and liked some of his books. I have enjoyed his books when I was 16 years old, my favourite was  The Devil and Miss Prym and I have read Zahir in my early twenties and found that the book really spoke to me. But Adultery has got to be the poorest author’s work yet. What I did like about it is its structure (I found abrupt, short chapters kind of alluring), flow-of-consciousness narration, matter-of-fact, no-nonsense, sometimes manic behaviour of the protagonist, and the beginning and the end of the book, parts which are surprisingly quotable.

EVERY morning, when I open my eyes to the so-called “new day”, I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up. But I can’t do that.

Today I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change and the equal terror that everything might carry on exactly the same for the rest of my days.

Have we reached the point where risking our life is the only thing that frees us from boredom?

What I did not like was generic, “deep” thoughts, that are supposed to be viewed as profound, but in essence are completely meaningless and oddly blank – I read the words, I understood them, but somehow they did not seem relevant.

Love isn’t just a feeling; it’s an art.

These leaves were once part of a tree, a tree that has now gone to ground to prepare for season of rest. Did the tree have any consideration for the green cloak that covered it, fed it, and enabled it to breathe?

These quotes remind me of my writing class in middle school where I was given topics like “I am me” or “Loneliness and solitude” to ponder about in 500 words. And my 13-year-old past self was writing things much like Paulo Coelho. I did sympathize with the “middle-aged” thirty-year-old woman – depression is not something that is to be taken lightly – and her approach of not wanting to be medicated and talking about her feelings with incompetent and negligent therapists. But I am quite sure that any husband would prefer his wife medicated than cheating on him. All in all, Adultery definitely was not my piece of cake, but if you are a loyal Paulo Coelho reader, you should definitely pick it up!


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