The Witch Of Portobello: A Novel

Paperback | February 5, 2008

byPaulo Coelho

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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. Like The AlchemistThe Witch of Portobello is the kind of story that will transform the way readers think about love, passion, joy, and sacrifice.

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From the Publisher

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. Like The Alch...

From the Jacket

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. Like The Alche...

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, andAdultery, among others, have sold 150 mil...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.72 inPublished:February 5, 2008Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061338818

ISBN - 13:9780061338816

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Customer Reviews of The Witch Of Portobello: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was Ok I read it, but I wouldn't read it again. The story is about finding your self and going outsisde of social paradigms. It reminded me of his other book Brida. I didn't like it like other Coehlo books.
Date published: 2014-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Love simply is. I enjoyed reading the book. Though the ending was a very plain and a humble one, i like how it brings the reader to the simplicity and truth of love.
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Okay... I enjoyed the read, but don't consider it Paulo's best work :-
Date published: 2013-05-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Creepy This is a compelling work of fiction about a woman (Athena) born in Transylvania to a Romani mother who left her in an orphanage and was later adopted by a wealthy Lebanese couple and raised in London. It is one of those books that dig into the mysteries of the transcendental world and one that blends the mundane life with the esoteric. This tale is a sure recipe not to please everyone but without any doubts this story is thought-provoking and will appeal to those with an avid interest in transcendentalism and divinity. “ The Witch of Portobello” starts with the death of the main character, Athena, her life story is alternately told from the points of view of the people who knew her: her adoptive mother, her ex-husband, a journalist researching vampires, a priest, her landlord, a teacher of calligraphy, a historian and an actress. They each provide a different view of her, describing not only what they saw and experienced but adding their own impressions, interpreting her through their own beliefs and fears but we never learn what Athena really thinks herself. This book is complex, challenging and pushes the boundaries of our imagination. The intriguing premise is heavily laced with references to religion, spirituality and mysticism. Was the purpose of this book to question our own spirituality? Well this is a thought to ponder over…. The plot started well, was captivating enough and definitely quite original but ….isn’t there always a but…. midway the author’s rambling lost me in the mumble jumble of all that New Age stuff and those gullible characters eventually got on my nerves. This story was way too creepy for my taste.
Date published: 2013-05-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't finish the book... I didn't finish this book... I feel kind of bad about that, because I usually always do finish a book once I start it, but the writing style and topic got on my nerves. It's about Athena and...well, it goes through people's interviews/written memoirs about her after her death. So we never know anything from the "primary source," if you will. The "voices" of a variety of characters sound all the same - a father, her ex-husband, her teacher, a journalist, her student, a man who taught her calligraphy, her mother, her biological mother - despite their different upbringings and ages and roles. Apparently she's in a quest to get in touch with the female face of God/Mother/etc. It got a little too preachy at points, relegated to the not-finished pile. I have to say, though, the only reason it's not a 1-star rating is because there are some insightful lines/quotes in the book.
Date published: 2012-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy read with a deep meaning This was my first Paulo Coelho book, and I was not left disappointed! It has an interesting style, written from the point of view of each key player in the protagonist, Athena's, life. You get a different view of Athena from each person, her ex-husband, her mother, her teacher. With each one you get a new and different perspective which keeps things fresh. A person might judge this book by it's title and assume its about something "occult-ish", I certainly did and let it be known that it's nothing like that. This is a beautifully written novel about a woman searching for her true self, and her full potential. The feminine aspects of God, something that has and is constantly ignored or belittled, is explored by both Athena and Coelho. So if your looking for something to reflect on, and a great conversation started, this is a great choice!
Date published: 2008-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Witch Captivates Paulo Coelho of international fame for his book The Alchemist has here in The Witch of Portobello has woven a very unique and compelling tale. Part of what draws the reader in is the story itself and part is the very unique way it is written. Rather than a straight forward narrative, or a dialogue or even a series of letters this is a unique narrative technique. It is written as a series of first person accounts of individuals interactions with our unusual heroine Athena aka the Witch of Portobello. These stories, taped interviews and letters have been compiled by a narrator we do not know until the end of the story. He has decided to let Athena's story be told as other's tell it, through their own words, and with all of their emotions, anger, support, respect or disgust. What we learn from these accounts is not only is Athena a bit of an enigma, from these accounts we could almost assume that almost every person encountered a different Athena, an Athena of the making in their own mind. The way the 'biography' is written it allows us to draw our own conclusions, rather than a traditionally researched biography that is colored by the lenses that cloud the vision of the biographer. Much as each of us look at the world through a series of lenses of our experiences, and cultural biases. Athena is a young woman who tries to fill the spaces, the silences in her life. The more she tries to fill them the more dissatisfied she becomes. Until she learns that it is the silences between the notes that make the music so powerful. When she learns to embrace the silence, the spaces, she finds a power an energy. She becomes a spiritual leader, some see her as a saint and some see her as a sinner. She is both revered and feared. A saint and a demon. The compiled documents help us to see Athena for who she was. So join our unknown biographer as we trace the life of a murdered young woman and journey around the world and into an unseen spiritual world. This book is better than some of Coelho's more recent offerings, and the narrative tool will draw you in and keep you turning the pages. A warning though the book deals with earth religions and has some new age ceremonies in it, therefore it will not be for all readers. (First Published in Imprint 2007-05-18 in the 'Book Review Column.)
Date published: 2008-07-01