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by Paulo Coelho

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Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world. As Brida seeks her destiny, she

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Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch.

This enthralling novel incorporates themes that fans of Paulo Coelho will recognize and treasure. It is a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from the master storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Coelho's brilliant tale of young Brida, an Irish girl who wishes to become a witch, is a compelling and vivid fantasy epic. Sadly, narrator Linda Emond's uninspired and monotonous reading is a disservice to this fantastic tale. Though the story is set in Ireland during the mid-'80s, Emond makes no attempt at a regional dialect or even the slightest shift in tone for any of the characters. Her narrative voice is dull and uninspired, read with a soft whisper that will surely put most listeners to sleep before it ignites their imaginations. The story would be much better served with a narrator more willing to put their performance skills to the test and dive into the story. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28). (July)

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Library Journal

Masterful spiritual storyteller Coelho published Brida in 1990, two years following the publication of one of his most popular works, The Alchemist. Here translated into English, Brida follows the mystical experiences of a young Irishwoman named Brida O'Fern as she enters the world of witchcraft. Traveling from Dublin to the wild woods, Brida searches for her first teacher, the Magus, a man who recognizes her as his soul mate. The Magus starts her on her spiritual path through a test of faith before passing her to another teacher, Wicca, who helps further develop her mystical skills. As Brida grapples with lessons challenging her to remember her past lives and find her true path, she must also deal with her current lover and her growing attraction for the Magus from the woods. Blending the beliefs of pagan and Christian religions, Coehlo pulls through the common threads of love, faith, and the journey of the soul. Devotees of his works will spark demand for this interesting novel. Recommended for popular fiction collections.
—Joy St. John

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HarperCollins Publishers
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P.S. Series
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5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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Chapter One

"I want to learn about magic," said the girl. The Magus looked at her. Faded jeans, T-shirt, the challenging look adopted by all shy people precisely when it's least needed. "I must be twice her age," he thought. And despite this, he knew that he had met his Soul Mate.

"My name's Brida," she went on. "Forgive me for not introducing myself. I've waited a long time for this moment and I'm more nervous than I thought I would be."

"Why do you want to learn about magic?" he asked.

"So that I can find answers to some of the questions I have regarding life, so that I can learn about the occult powers, and, possibly, how to travel back into the past and forward into the future."

It wasn't the first time someone had come to the forest to ask him this. There was a time when he'd been a Teacher who was known and respected by the Tradition. He'd taken on several pupils and believed that the world would change if he could change those around him. But he had made a mistake. And Teachers of the Tradition cannot make mistakes.

"Don't you think you're rather young?"

"I'm twenty-one," said Brida. "If I wanted to start learning ballet, I'd be considered too old."

The Magus made a sign for her to follow him. They set off together through the forest, in silence. "She's pretty," he was thinking as the shadows cast by the trees rapidly lengthened and shifted as the sun sank lower on the horizon. "But I'm twice her age." This, he knew, meant that he might well suffer.

Brida felt irritated by the silence of the man walking beside her; he hadn't even deigned to respond to her last remark. The forest floor was wet and covered in fallen leaves; she, too, noticed the shadows changing and the rapid approach of night. It would be dark soon and they didn't have a flashlight with them.

"I have to trust him," she told herself. "If I believe that he can teach me magic, then I also have to believe that he can guide me through the forest."

They continued walking. He appeared to be wandering aimlessly, from one side to the other, changing direction even when there was no obstacle in his path. More than once they walked in a circle, passing the same place three or four times.

"Perhaps he's testing me." She was determined to see this experience through to the end and tried telling herself that everything that was happening...including those circular walks...was perfectly normal.

She had come a very long way and had hoped for more from this encounter. Dublin was over ninety miles away, and the buses to the village were uncomfortable and left at absurd times. She'd had to get up early, travel for three hours, ask the people in the village where she might find him, and explain what she wanted with such a strange man. Finally, someone had told her in which part of the forest he could usually be found during the day, but not without first warning her that he'd already tried to seduce one of the village girls.

"He's an interesting man," she thought to herself. They were climbing now, and she found herself hoping that the sun would linger a little longer in the sky. She was afraid she might slip on the damp leaves.

"Why do you really want to learn about magic?"

Brida was pleased that the silence had been broken. She gave him the same answer she had given before.

But he wasn't satisfied.

"Perhaps you want to learn about magic because it's mysterious and secret, because it provides answers that few human beings ever manage to find in a whole lifetime, or perhaps because it evokes a romantic past."

Brida said nothing. She didn't know what to say. Afraid to give an answer the Magus might not like, she rather wished he would lapse back into his earlier silence.

At last they came to the top of a hill, having crossed the entire forest. The ground there was rocky and bare of vegetation, but at least it was less slippery, and Brida could follow the Magus without difficulty.

He sat down on the highest point and asked Brida to do the same.

"Other people have been here before," said the Magus. "They, too, came to ask me to teach them about magic, but I've taught everything I needed to teach. I've given back to humanity what it gave to me. Now I want to be alone, to climb mountains, tend plants, and commune with God."

"That's not true," replied the girl.

"What isn't true?" he asked, surprised.

"You might want to commune with God, but it isn't true that you want to be alone."

Brida regretted having spoken. She had spoken on an impulse, and now it was too late to correct her mistake. Perhaps there were people who wanted to be alone. Perhaps women needed men more than men needed women.

The Magus, however, showed no sign of irritation when he spoke again.

"I'm going to ask you a question," he said, "and you must be absolutely honest in your answer. If you tell me the truth, I'll teach you what you ask. If you lie, you must never again return to this forest."

Brida gave a sigh of relief. He was going to ask her a question. She simply had to tell the truth, that was all. She had always assumed that a Teacher would demand really difficult things of someone before taking them on as a pupil.

"Let's suppose that I do start teaching you what I've learned," he said, his eyes fixed on hers. "Let's suppose that I start to show you the parallel universes that surround us, the angels, the wisdom of nature, the mysteries of the Tradition of the Sun and the Tradition of the Moon. Then one day, you go into town to buy some food, and in the middle of the street, you meet the love of your life."

Brida. Copyright © by Paulo Coelho. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Brida 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of Coehlo, I couldn't wait for Brida to be translated to English. Brida is an immature character who experiences much growth and change through out the book both with Wicca and Magus. Many of the secrets of the universe she learns are passed onto the audience simultaneously. While I am always impressed by the mysticism and knowledge Coehlo is able to bequeath his readers, this novel seemed to lack the story development that all his other novels have. His novels Eleven Minutes, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Pryn, The Alchemist, The Fifth Mountain, etc...all have beautiful mystical qualities about them as well as stories that live on in my mind. Brida felt almost as though I was reading a guide to the Wiccan tradition. Her story didn't matter to me like his other character's stories still do. Brida is not without merit, though
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book very much in the style Paulo's become renowned for. Anyone who's read several of his books may enjoy that brida clarifies and adds to the witch of portabello, being of the same vein, and reading them both would enliven the experiance of each. The character of Brida is portrayed extremely well, never being a static cliche person, her moods and values are constantly shifting, she has weak moments and is capable of real insight, her faults make her real, and that means you can really get into the story. I've been a huge fan of Paulo's books for years, and this is easily one of his best. lf you're looking for a book that will take you places you never thought were in the world this is it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book easy to read and interesting. Written in a Christo-pagan manner, a good 'bridge' book between both belief systems. A nice glimpse into Wiccan spirituality although not totally accurate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book, it literally just grabbed my attention, and once I started reading it I just couldn't put it down. I was intrigued by all the soul searching Brida had to do and felt a kind of kinship to her as she discovered who she truly was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Regarding Coelho's blending of traditions: Neither the Catholicism nor the 'Wicca' practiced today can claim original, unchanging religious authenticity. Catholics incorporated local deities and practices everywhere they went and edited/rewrote 'The' Bible a few hundred times. Witches didn't write a lot down and were all but killed off in the burning times. Who is to say what cannot be blended? Many paths lead to one destination, often crossing other paths and traditions. Don't avoid this book because it doesn't rigidly hold to a small, rigid, arcane idea of One True religious path. Pow Wows, christian mystics, hedgewitches, native american medicine carriers, and other healers have blended traditions for centuries. This is what Coelho does as well, in a fine and innovatively traditional manner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book after reading two of Coelho's other titles. I think this one is the best because it has a female protagonist. The story is a mixture of heroine on a quest, the search for the meaning and purpose in life and how to find ones soul mate. I found Coelho's use of past lives and the concept of we live the experience over and over till we get it right especially appealing! I recommend this book to readers who want to experience spirituality in the classic Coelho story telling style. A good gift for a person transitioning from one stage of life to another.
Aimee_Leon More than 1 year ago
This story was very fantastic and enjoyable. Also a quick read. So the book is a real page turner. Not a waste of time at all.The tale is very unique,and beautifully written. From all the characters senses, details and setting. This is the first time I've read a novel from Paulo Coelho. Brida is a young female character who experiences much growth & change through out the story both with her 2 mentors Wicca and Magus. Many of the secrets of the universe she learns are passed onto the audience simultaneously. A great fantasy with a twist of erotics blended beautifully well together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am always skeptical when it comes to reading a translation version. this one surprised me somewhat. I definitely would recommend this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I've not yet read this book I shall as I am taken to new places with Coehlo. Had I already read Brida I'm pretty sure I'd write a take II kind of review from that of my predecessor's. Coehlo's stories are never meant for the narrow-minded they become too scary.
Kytiekat More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It opened me up to an understanding in which I was very skepitical about. i have read several of his books thus far and with everyone I have read I open myself up to a whole new understanding on spirituality and a hidden part of my life which I have been learning to embrace through his books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like that the author passes down many of the teachings that Brida goes through to the reader (as he does in most of his books). I did not like the fact that the book is about this girl, seeking in a path of "witchcraft" when in fact the paths are based on christian dieties while they do pagan practices. It does not make sense to me and will seem contradicting to both pagans and christians alike. Then her search for her soul mate... I will not spoil it. Read if you want to know ;)
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artist12 More than 1 year ago
Wasn't really captured by the tale, though I thought I would be. It was just okay. I found it kind of boring and hard to get through at times. I kind of had to force myself to finish it just to feel that I had not wasted money buying it (though I still have buyer's remorse).
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Val44 More than 1 year ago
A thoughtful journey of a young woman's quest. Reaching to find what is true within ourselves on everyman's spiritual journey, Paulo Coelho speaks a language I understand and appreciate.
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