Monday, October 3, 2011

The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho

Reading time: 5 hours
New knowledge 5/10
Need to pay attention 4/10
Emotional connection 6/10
Unquantifiable satisfaction 6/10
Overall 7/10

This latest novel by Paulo Coelho is reminiscent of his earlier work in that it is incredibly spiritual and infused with little nuggets of wisdom. Its difference from his earlier novels like The Alchemist and The Devil and Miss Prim is that it is not written as a fable.The Winner Stands Alone is almost ruthless in its portrayal of harsh reality. It takes an old cliche of a story with many characters whose lives inexplicably intertwine and puts a spiritual twist on it. The action is set at the Cannes Festival and our characters are both the powerful and the hopeful - directors, models, actresses, screenwriters. The plot line consistently moves forward, but the beauty of this novel is in the tangents from the plot, where we contemplate the human condition.

This is an easy book to read and understand - its only complication is keeping track of the many narratives. It's likely that you will not read this book in one sitting, as it's very dense with thought-provoking scenarios that will no doubt make you space out as you wonder how your own human nature would act in all of these situations. I have spaced out while reading this book everywhere from subways to waiting rooms, drawing it out for nearly a week, despite the short active reading time.


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