The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation

The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation

by Paulo Coelho

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061844867
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 182,303
File size: 569 KB

About the Author

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Adultery, among others, have sold over 175 million copies worldwide, and The Alchemist has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 360 weeks.

Paulo Coelho has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002, and in 2007, he was appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace. He is also the most followed author on social media.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Date of Birth:

August 24, 1947

Place of Birth:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Left law school in second year

Read an Excerpt

The Devil and Miss Prym

A Novel of Temptation
By Paulo Coelho

Harper Perennial

Copyright © 2007 Paulo Coelho
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060528003

Chapter One

For almost fifteen years, old Berta had spent every day sitting outside her front door. The people of Viscos knew that this was normal behavior amongst old people: they sit dreaming of the past and of their youth; they look out at a world in which they no longer play a part and try to find something to talk to the neighbors about.

Berta, however, had a reason for being there. And that morning her waiting came to an end when she saw the stranger climbing the steep hill up to the village, heading for its one hotel. He did not look as she had so often imagined he would: his clothes were shabby, he wore his hair unfashionably long, he was unshaven.

And he was accompanied by the Devil.

"My husband's right," she said to herself. "If I hadn't been here, no one would have noticed."

She was hopeless at telling people's ages and put the man's somewhere between forty and fifty. "A youngster," she thought, using a scale of values that only old people understand. She wondered how long he would be staying, but reached no conclusion; it might be only a short time, since all he had with him was a small rucksack. He would probably just stay one night before moving on to a fate about whichshe knew nothing and cared even less.

Even so, all the years she had spent sitting by her front door waiting for his arrival had not been in vain, because they had taught her the beauty of the mountains, something she had never really noticed before, simply because she had been born in that place and had always tended to take the landscape for granted.

As expected, the stranger went into the hotel. Berta wondered if she should go and warn the priest about this undesirable visitor, but she knew he wouldn't listen to her, dismissing the matter as the kind of thing old people like to worry about.

So now she just had to wait and see what happened. It doesn't take a devil much time to bring about destruction; they are like storms, hurricanes or avalanches, which, in a few short hours, can destroy trees planted two hundred years before. Suddenly, Berta realized that the mere fact that Evil had just arrived in Viscos did not change anything: devils come and go all the time without necessarily affecting anything by their presence. They are constantly abroad in the world, sometimes simply to find out what's going on, at others to put some soul or other to the test. But they are fickle creatures, and there is no logic in their choice of target, being drawn merely by the pleasure of a battle worth fighting. Berta concluded that there was nothing sufficiently interesting or special about Viscos to attract the attention of anyone for more than a day, let alone someone as important and busy as a messenger from the dark.

She tried to turn her mind to something else, but she couldn't get the image of the stranger out of her head. The sky, which had been clear and bright up until then, suddenly clouded over.

"That's normal, it always happens at this time of year," she thought. It was simply a coincidence and had nothing to do with the stranger's arrival.

Then, in the distance, she heard a clap of thunder, followed by another three. On the one hand, this simply meant that rain was on the way; on the other, if the old superstitions of the village were to be believed, the sound could be interpreted as the voice of an angry God, protesting that mankind had grown indifferent to His presence.

"Perhaps I should do something. After all, what I was waiting for has finally happened."

She sat for a few minutes, paying close attention to everything going on around her; the clouds had continued to gather above the village, but she heard no other sounds. As a good ex-Catholic, she put no store by traditions and superstitions, especially those of Viscos, which had their roots in the ancient Celtic civilization that once existed in the place.

"A thunderclap is an entirely natural phenomenon. If God wanted to talk to man, he wouldn't use such roundabout methods."

She had just thought this when she again heard a peal of thunder accompanied by a flash of lightning -- a lot closer this time. Berta got to her feet, picked up her chair and went into her house before the rain started; but this time she felt her heart contract with an indefinable fear.

"What should I do?"

Again she wished that the stranger would simply leave at once; she was too old to help herself or her village, far less assist Almighty God, who, if He needed any help, would surely have chosen someone younger. This was all just some insane dream; her husband clearly had nothing better to do than to invent ways of helping her pass the time.

But of one thing she was sure, she had seen the Devil.

In the flesh and dressed as a pilgrim.


Excerpted from The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho Copyright © 2007 by Paulo Coelho. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars The Devil and Miss Prym is the third book in the On the Seventh Day series by Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho. It is translated into English by Amanda Hopkinson and Nick Caistor. As old Berta sits on her verandah watching, a stranger arrives in the town of Viscos, a man who comes to stay a week, and brings the devil. Chantal Prym, barmaid at the only hotel in town, is intrigued when the stranger wants to show her something in the woods. The gold bar buried near the Y shaped stone would let Chantal leave town and get on with a decent life. The other ten bars, hidden elsewhere, would ease the pressures on the town. All she has to do to have that gold bar is to tell the town they need to commit a murder by the end of the week. If they do it, they get to keep the ten bars. But Viscos is a town of good people: surely, they would not? There you have it: a totally unrealistic premise used as a vehicle for debate on Good and Evil. Viscos is a conveniently small, isolated town full of older people, no children. The oldest resident, widow Berta has, conveniently, no family or friends, and is visited only by the ghost of her late husband. The youngest, Chantal is, conveniently, an orphan, completely unattached. The stranger is, conveniently, rich, powerful, tortured and believes himself to be a good man. The story is filled with anecdotes: parables heavy on message, moralistic lessons lacking subtlety, hypotheticals built on an artificial situation. Good and Evil feature frequently, angels and devils play important roles. The characters are stereotypes. The whole thing is tedious and a bit clumsy.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
“The Devil and Miss Prym” by Paulo Coelho one of the “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.” Therefore, it was added to my own reading list. I’ve read “The Alchemist” by Coelho, and while I enjoyed it, I thought it got repetitive and I wasn’t thrilled with the book. I was, however, thrilled with “The Devil and Miss Prym.” “The Devil and Miss Prym” is a book about a tormented man, being guided by the devil, who brings temptation in the form of wealth for murder in order to determine if people are inherently good or evil. The man suffers from a horrific past and believes that if he completes his social experiment, he will be able to truly determine if humans are good or evil beings. The man chooses the tiny city of Viscos, and opens up to Chantal, a barmaid with a promiscuous reputation and a dream about a more exciting future, about his plan to determine if people will murder for wealth and gold. “The Devil and Miss Prym” is a great read that I highly recommend! The book brings up some good moral questions and was a quick read. Think about this: Would you commit murder in exchange for more money than you could ever spend?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Devil and Miss Prym is written international best selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. Paulo Coelho is also author of the world known book, the Alchemist. This book is very analytic and philosophical. Symbolism is a major component. This novel examines the question, "are people bad?" This book develops deeply around the themes of fear, temptation, and good and evil. Set in a small town of the name Visco full of greed and selfishness, a young and desperate woman searching for a meaning is tempted by a man living in pain claiming to have the devil within him. She must take her ordinary life and choose between good and evil, listening to nature and also realizing she is responsible for her actions. Personally I believe that this book is amazing. It explores humans and their capacity to judge. Is there really and evil or is it just miss judgment? What makes a person capable of falling into temptation? What causes a person to be so ambitious and do actions that are not well accepted? Paulo Coelho takes all these questions and in the most simple manner clearly states his interpretations. The book leaves you stunned and like my friend would say, "it blows your mind!!!" This book focuses on a young woman by the name of Chantal Prym. She lives in a small town this is very basic ordinarily, all in all boring. She wants to leave this life and get out of the town to lead a life of excitement. Old Berta is the widow of the town who on her porch daily talks to her dead husband. Every day she awaits the arrival of the Devil as her husband had predicted. A stranger show up to the town intending to stay a week, and is first met by Old Berta. He encounters Miss Prym and listen her how that he as 11 golden bars hidden in the woods. The gold could belong to the mellow mediocre town under one condition that the stranger sets. Chantal discovers what she and her town are cable of in order to get the ticket that could get them out of their misery. Miss Prym discovers the good and evil that is in her everyday life. She must make a decision while the stranger considers what he calls the evil humanity and. This book will keep you hooked form start to end. What is that condition and what does it represent? To what extreme does the town go to? What happens to Old Berta and who's this stranger? What is his painful past about? What has caused him to be the man he has turned into? And most importantly what path does Miss Prym choose? All these questions can be answered through the deep reading of The Devil and Miss Prym.
1morechapter on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Most people either love Paulo Coelho¿s writing or absolutely hate it. I haven¿t seen many who have straddled the fence on this author. I¿m in the former category, though I know quite a few people who don¿t care for him at all. While some believe his writing is too simplistic, I, on the other hand, sometimes crave simplicity! I do quite a bit of heavy reading (though not recently), and it¿s nice sometimes to curl up with one of Coelho¿s books and know that I will probably read it in one sitting. I also believe his ¿simple¿ books have a much deeper meaning to them, and this story is also indicative of that.One day a stranger comes to Viscos, an idyllic mountain town. The stranger has a plan to tempt the villagers with some gold. They only have to do one thing to get the gold, but that act is contrary to the basic character of the town¿s residents. There hasn¿t been any trouble in the village for years, and when Miss Prym, the local barmaid, is told of the plan, she is confident the villagers will be able to withstand the temptation.The story raises the question of whether humans are generally good or generally evil, and also why God, if there is one, would allow evil things to happen to good people.Highly recommended.2000, 205 pp.
averitasm on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I really like the simplicity of his books, although they all have exceptional messages. This one will really stay with me and it's definitely something you need to chew on mentally for a while, just what would you do if you were in the same situation as Miss Prym? I'm trying not to give too much away , this was a quick read and I liked it, and it did end well. I couldn't help but feel I might have done something else but really what to make sure everything came out alright ( Like kick the stranger out of the village or take one of the bars as a stupid tax for being such an A$$, but in the end it would not have worked out right). Recommendation- it's good read it.
strandbooks on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This novel reminded me of the allegorical style of Pilgrim's Progress and Magical Realism (I think that's what it is called) of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. There are only 2 characters with actual names, all the others are referred to as the Stranger, Landowner, Mayor, Priest etc. It is a fight between good and evil, angels and devils, god and satan set in a small South American village that is ripe with its own myths and history. It was a quick read. Pretty enjoyable with some good imagery, but I'm a little surprised it was on the 1001 list. One day I hope to be fluent enough in Spanish to read books like this. I have a feeling a lot gets lost in translation
ehough75 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This was an amazing book. I typically don't read this style of book but after reading The Alchemist I had to read another of Paulo Coelho books. This was not a let down. I liked this book even more than The Alchemist. For a shorter novel the author really does a great job of conveying his message as well as showing many sides of the struggle. I have already bought more of his books to read.
kbergfeld on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A simple fable, with a simple theme, but the impact is anything but simple. The climax may have felt predicable in theory, but the telling of the scene was visceral. "A novel of temptation" is the tag line, but by the end I found nothing tempting, it was simply greed and I understood why. The telling made it personal, and I found myself linking the moments of temptation to my own life and examine those choices more carefully. I have already started "Veronika Decides to Die" and I can't wait to start another of Mr. Coelho's books.
pajakupj on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Again good and bad ideas are fighting with each others. In this book is again a witch, or belived to be witch like so many other Coelho´s books. Miss Prym goes to a situation which she coudn´t belive to happen to her. She have to decide on behalf of the whole community what to do. And she ended on good decidion .....Easy to read, this book didn´t give me much to think. I read it because I want to see how Coelho writes. I´ve read severala of his books. This is quite good, definitely not his best. You have to read it to get your own oppinion.
misibea on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I picked up this book from the library after finishing Eleven Minutes. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed reading The Devil and Miss Prym. Like most of Paul Coelho's books I found this book a very easy read. I enjoy the lightness of touch that Paul Coehlo uses in most of his books. And like his other book, The Devil and Miss Prym stayed on my mind after I finished it, giving me food for thought.
theportal2002 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Great story. I really enjoy Paulo Coelho's books as he always has a life lesson to be uncovered, very zen like.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing 11 months ago
In this novel, Coelho tries to explain good and evil, their many faces and manifestations. While this is a fascinating debate and while the author relates some good stories within the plot, his very complicated and far-fetched scenario involving devils and angels, one-dimensional characters and simplistic emotional quandaries is extremely trite and flat. Surely there more creative ways to deal with these moral concepts.
StephenBarkley on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A stranger walks into an isolated village and offers unimaginable wealth to the villagers if someone is found murdered by the end of the week. What a great premise for a story! It¿s sad that such an interesting idea came to such a lackluster end.I suppose what bothered me the most is Coelho¿s belief that humans have the unfettered ability to choose good over evil. (It doesn¿t help that I¿ve been reading Calvin¿s Institutes concurrently!) Here¿s the grand moral of the fable in Coelho¿s words:"The stranger did not need Chantal to explain the story. Savin and Ahab had the same instincts¿Good and Evil struggled in both of them, just as they did in every soul on the face of the earth. When Ahab realized that Savin was the same as he, he realized too that he was the same as Savin.It was all a matter of control. And choice.Nothing more and nothing less."As a Christian, this sweet idealism bothers me. We humans are not free to choose between good and evil on our own. Apart from Jesus, we choose evil every single time! (Of course, it may not appear to be evil.) Morality is not just a matter of our control and choice. It¿s a matter of handing control over to the Son of God who sets us free from our enslavement to evil so we have the ability to make an authentic choice.Perhaps it¿s my ideology that made this book so frustrating. It functions well as a nice morality fable. If you¿re interested in real wisdom, though, search elsewhere.
Grenpen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It offers a lot of food for thought. It was a quick and easy read, once started it was hard to put down and kept me thinking about it afterwards.
carmen29 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mostly this book is a discussion about whether people are inherently good or evil, but I like what it has to say about change. How sometimes people, when given a chance to do something they've always dreamed of, freeze with fear of change.
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Reading books by Paulo coelho always leave me thinking about life. I really enjoyed this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this author
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excelent read that plays well into how the human physc is conditioned. Poignant and fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Devil and Miss Prym is an excellent novel. I read it for my class, but I most certainly want to buy the other books in the series and read them over the summer. The immense symbolism and allegorical meanings are exceptional. I continuously read ahead for class because I was so interested to see what would happen next! I definitely believe that this book deserves five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago