Date Published: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Random House India
Source: Review copy provided by Random House India
Goodreads Synopsis: The thought-provoking new novel from the international bestselling author whose words change lives.
Linda knows she’s lucky.
Yet every morning when she opens her eyes to a so-called new day, she feels like closing them again.
Her friends recommend medication.
But Linda wants to feel more, not less.
And so she embarks on an adventure as unexpected as it is daring, and which reawakens a side of her that she – respectable wife, loving mother, ambitious journalist – thought had disappeared.
Even she can’t predict what will happen next…
My View: I don’t think I can start talking about this book before giving you a bit of a glimpse into my relationship with Paulo Coelho.
I had heard so many good things about The Alchemist before I finally got a chance to read it after finishing my 12th board exams. And thereafter I read it twice more. I know the opinion is still divided on this one, with some loving and others hating it. It has sold some million copies but still you will come across people hating this book. I believe what riveted me to the book was how the author conveyed a powerful message hidden in a very simple story, easy for everyone to understand and written in a beautiful prose as well. Other authors could have said the same in more complex stories and difficult sounding words but some things are better said simply.
After The Alchemist, I read Eleven Minutes and was taken aback by the stark difference between the two books and couldn’t even believe it was written by the same author. Anyway, I thought that was a huge jump for me to make and resorted to reading other of his works. Although, The Alchemist still stood out for me regardless of how many of his other books I read (the number is six, I think).
So when I saw The Adultery being released, I realised it has been almost 8 years since I last read one of his books and decided to get back to one of my favorite authors.
Adultery is quick to begin, sparking interest but as it proceeds, it tends to get a bit on the dull side. I understand where other readers are coming from when they say the book is boring. It certainly doesn’t hold your attention throughout. You have to keep getting back to it.
However, despite the dullness, I have found Coelho’s work to bridge the gap between the concrete and abstract with The Alchemist being the only book (amongst the ones I have read) which was very concrete while the others have elements of abstractness in it. Abstract isn’t something I am afraid of. In fact, I would go to the extent to say that I welcome it. It helps every individual reader define the abstractness in their own way, making sense of it as it applies to them. And that’s brilliant.
What I did appreciate about this book was that it took on a hush, swept away behind the curtains concept and laid it out in the open. It showed how adultery is perceived differently depending on the gender of the person indulging in it. It reflected on why adultery happens and what one goes out looking for in the first place. It reaches inside the individual and looks at the thoughts, beliefs and feelings that make the person indulge in adultery. Also, some of his prose is beautiful leading to introspection and identification. He touches upon a lot of concepts and ideas in this book.
What did leave me wanting for more was that due to the author’s urge to look at so many different things, the connection from one concept to another was a pale thin thread at best. And that left the reader bewildered and thinking ‘where did this come from?’
Since I haven’t read Coelho in so long, I am not the best to judge how his writing or books have traversed over time but certainly an author also can’t do the best each time. There will be lapses and modulations from one work to another.
Overall, I didn’t get as much as I wanted from the book. It’s a bit difficult to keep going through. It is advisable to read many books at a time and insert this one amongst the rotation. Having said that, I am not entirely disappointed. I liked some prose and concepts a lot. They made me reflect and others I could identify with. Coelho hasn’t lost his touch. He is just delving into different subjects and exploring a bit. And I like it.
3/5 stars – I liked it.
(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)