Publisher: Random House India
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Before taking up Adultery by Paulo Coelho, I was a tad bit skeptical. I’d absolutely fallen in love with The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, whereas The Winner Stands Alone was a huge disappointment. Regardless of highly varying critical reviews, Paulo Coelho always manages to touch the life of his readers.
Adultery is very loosely named as the central theme of the book seems to be loneliness (especially caused by today’s world) and a woman going through a mid-life crisis. The book is about the life of a mildly successful journalist Linda, well into her 30s, who apparently has everything one can ask for: a dedicated husband, loving children, stable professional life and financial security. But an insignificant interview with an irrelevant writer completely tumbles her life upside down. Questioning her routine-accustomed life, Linda strives to find a way out of this insurmountable maze her life has entered into. To find a way out of this, she finds herself engaging in adulterous escapades with a former teenage flame, who is going through similar problems in his life. But the trouble starts when she begins to believe that this obsession towards a former beau is love.
The protagonist is characteristically weak. The plot at times seems to get lost between the inner thoughts of the leading lady. Also, the writing style at times is confusing, making it difficult to decide between what is being thought and what exactly is being communicated. All supporting characters are shallowly framed and difficult to decipher, but this intensifies the focus on the protagonist and does not let the plot line waver.
However, the author’s observation of society is remarkable. The insight into a lonely person’s thought process is genius and commendable. Also, the philosophical undertone of every situation is engaging and worth pondering upon. Heartfelt emotions are put forth but a sincere writing effort is evidently lacking.
Despite all the cons, Paulo Coelho gets his way in mesmerizing the reader with the magical realism he puts into all the situations. Also, the incorporation of nature into the solution of life problems gives people going through the same ordeal a ray of hope.