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The Witch of Portobello
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The Witch of Portobello

3.8 123
by Paulo Coelho, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator)
 

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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.

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The Witch of Portobello 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
lit-in-the-last-frontier More than 1 year ago
This was what I call an ignorant snatch-I am racing past the audio books in my library, the name Paulo Coelho catches my eye, my hand reaches out on some self-propelled errand. The book has never found a place on my out-of-control To Be Read list, but somehow it has found its way onto my MP3 player in audio format. And glad I am of it. This book could not be described as plot driven by any stretch of the imagination. It is the story of Athena, a young woman who discovers that she has unusual abilities-the kind of abilities which in a less enlightened age would have condemned her to burn at the stake; but is this age really more enlightened? Throughout the book, which is told from various viewpoints, we follow Athena as she teaches herself, is taught by others, and ultimately becomes a teacher herself. As she works her way through the mediums of dance, calligraphy, and meditation, we see her discover her "center" and learn to channel an ancient spirit, giving voice to wisdom and warning. As a Christian, there were times when the themes of the book made me more than a little uncomfortable, but as the story flowed on, carried by Paulo Coelho's intense, gripping characters, one central truism came into focus. At the core of each of us there is a soul, and no matter what higher being we pledge ourself to (if indeed any at all) the essence of who we are is unchanged. In my attempt to better understand my soul I have never employed any of the same practices as Athena, but I can wholly understand her journey to find her center, because I have a traveled the same journey. I have simply followed a different path. The characters narrate chapters in turn, giving the reader a variety of viewpoints. As previously mentioned, I listened to the audio narrated by Rita Wolf, who did a marvelous job infusing distinct personalities into each character. Those not of a New Age mindset might find the premise of the book a little much to handle, but if you can let go long enough to immerse yourself in the beauty of the writing-Coelho paints characters of astounding depth-you will find a good deal of insight here. While character development is the driving force of the novel, there is of course some element of a plot, complete with a hint of mystery and suspense, which Coelho brings to a sound conclusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up Paulo Coelho's The Witch of Portobello because I liked the Alchemist, and I liked the idea of an exploration into feminine spirituality. I found that I was hooked into the story initially because of the immediate revelation that the main character had been murdered and the unconventional writing style of having the story about her be told by the testimonies of the people who knew her. As easy as it was to get into the book, I found it that difficult to finish. The initial intrigue into the main character's life turned into boredom over the details of her strange life. If the unusual nature of her life was supposed to reveal some understanding of the divine feminine, I found that it was only superficial at best and left me unsatisfied at the end of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You will actually have to read this novel all the way to the last paragraph to get it. Don't give up half way through. Initially, I was like, 'what is this....book about really'. But I continued to read it, because I purchased it in Paris, with euros, and paid a premium. This is, how and why I ultimately decided to finish the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As some of his other books,.he brings his mysticism into the story, in this one in particualr, as with The Alchemist, there is story and characters that develp and you feel compelled to follow.
Victoria Sazani More than 1 year ago
a 21st century messiah story done in Cliff notes.biblical style. This story pretty much tells the story of a woman heralding the return of the Great Mother who was never really gone anyway, just ignored by women as they proceed to disenfranchise themselves, for literally god knows what. The confusion, the resulting persecution. Even the ending has a sense of death and rebirth. One correction tho, when it comes to parthenagenesis or imaculate conception, the resulting child can only be female. So we know that part of the myth can be put to rest finally.
Guest More than 1 year ago
That your broke and not so good looking? Read Coelho and have your self doubts reinforced. Supposedly we all need to know that there is more to life than ... say... life, but why people think that that 'more' is supplied by Paulo Coelho is beyond me. I have always avoided his books ¿ catch phrases like: '65 million people can't be wrong', and 'publishing phenomenon', don't convince me a good writer is involved. Unfortunately while I was out of town my book club selected 'The Witch of Portobello' and I knew I was in for it. Other than being a quick read, which probably appeals to many of Coelho's readers, I have nothing good to say about this book. The main character is rich, one dimensional and well connected and so is everyone else she comes across. Her transformation through travel, work and study is written like a fable '...a client at the bank where I work ...told me that your a wise man', and yet there is nothing allegorical or fantastical in this fairy-tale. Characters in 'The Witch of Portobello' do not journey, rather they tour trendy locations and experience things that could be plucked out of a Lonely Planet Guide Book. They do not study with discipline rather they get into circular arguments with their supposed teachers and bosses, usually over wine, and miraculously they stumble upon riches and magical powers. Finacially secure and nowhere else to go but up the main character, a single mother and college drop out, becomes a living deity. When the media gets curious Coelho offs her in a typical fashion and everyone goes back home to their pile of bills. All I can say is if this works for you, you deserve nothing but the best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book started out quite strong. It reminded me greatly of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse in its spiritual themes of seeking greater meaning in everyday life and the beauty of the connections between everything in existence. However, about half way through the novel the spiritual ideas start to break down into flowery words and concepts that contradict each other and have little meaning or importance. Still, it was worth reading.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A feel good self seaching.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can view this book as a novel. Or you can view it as a self-help book. I have read a number of his books including The Alchemist and Aleph and with each one I learn something new about myself.
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I loved it, I didn't quite know what to expect/ I enjoyed it very much.
Aimee_Leon More than 1 year ago
This tale was spellbinding. I love the character Athena, she was so capivating, mysterious & unique in a very interesting way. Even though the story starts off with point of view from her family, friends and lovers. Athena had the ability to fasinate people with her wisdom. Which had people follow her, also had some others that try to end her. The Witch of Portobello was an extraordinary story that I've never wanted to end. Paulo Coelho is an amazing writer and never disappoints me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read. Could not put it down.
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Compelling
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