Paulo Coelho: Adultery – My Thoughts
Paulo Coelho, Brazilian-born author whose works have been published in over eighty languages worldwide, is known for his captivating writing skills which go so much further than just words; exploring identity, spirituality and the inner being in a way which is, sometimes quite spookily relative and excitingly engaging.
I, like the majority of people who have read it, am a fan of his most well known book, The Alchemist – the story of a young shepherd who leaves everything he has ever known, in pursuit of a dream. So naturally, while out exploring in Port Louis one blazing hot day and stumbling across his most recent publication Adultery, I was inclined to buy it, without a seconds thought.
First published in April 2014 in Portuguese and being the sixteenth major book written by Coelho, Adultery follows the story of a woman who, to the innocent bystander, seems to have the perfect life – a life that so many of us aspire to have, and sometimes lose ourselves in the process of attaining.
She has a secure marriage, a loving husband, wonderful children, good looks, a nice house, car and clothes and the job of her dreams, working as a journalist. But, there is something missing; something so drastically missing from her life, that every single day she awakens is another day in which she has to fake her smile and carry on robotically, while facing the guilt of feeling such a way because after all, her life is ‘perfect’.
In her working life, she encounters an ex-boyfriend from her teenage days that she has to interview, and somehow he arouses something that has been long absent in her life: passion. And so, we follow her as she embarks on a joyride of adultery with him, bringing her ultimately to the train-car of her rollercoaster ride of self-discovery – and it is definitely a wobbly, up-down-spin-you-right-round journey, of which the reader is allowed a front seat.
I must be honest with you: Adultery did not have me as gripped as I initially thought it would have. It is a bit of a slow-burner and for someone who may prefer something a little more fast-paced, it can definitely leave you questioning when the good stuff is going to arrive. However, I present the rollercoaster metaphor because the character’s personal journey, removing all the external factors to it, is such and is something I believe we all can or will relate to at some point in our lives, until we undergo some kind of awakening or returning to consciousness process.
I had a discussion about this book online and someone told me they were finding it very boring and were lacking in motivation to complete it. I can completely understand why, as it removes you from this fast-paced, instant gratification, digital world we live in today. But now as I reflect back, I believe that this may just have been Mr. Coelho’s intention all along.
For the reader who does find the book a little arduous, I would recommend that you pursue and read it right through until the end because for me, the last few chapters of the book completely made it. Coelho writes so deeply, in a way that can connect with the stillest and even the most disturbed of souls. He is known for his spiritual metaphors and the life-lessons he hides so beautifully between his words, and Adultery does not fail to deliver.
The caption on the back of the book claims, ‘Sometimes you have to lose yourself to discover who you are’, and I am sure that this latest work from Paulo Coelho will make you question your life too, and yet hopefully at the same time, help you to discover parts of yourself that you were not even aware existed.