Friday, June 25, 2010
The Witch of Portebello
The Witch of Portebello is the third Paulo Coehlo novel I have read. I have to say that The Alchemist, so far, is still my favorite.
The Witch of Portebello describes the life leading up to the death of the main character, Athena, through a handful of people who interacted with her. Narrators include her adoptive mother, her ex-husband, a journalist, a priest, her landlord, her teacher, and an actress. While I had enjoyed the storyline, I actually had a hard time following parts because the narrator switched so often. I found myself needing to flip back a couple pages to remind myself who was detailing that specific part of the story.
There are quite a few hidden references to Christianity and Catholicism that I didn't recognize at first. I guess, just as in high school English class, I have proven that I am blind to allegory writing. I get so tangled up in the characters and their lives that I miss out on the big-arm-waving-this-symbolizes-this picture.
I did enjoy the plot though, except I found myself being annoyed at Athena. She seemed so stand-offish to the journalist who so obviously is in love with her. I thought for sure that their conflict would resolve itself and be an either happily ever after or bittersweet end, but it was neither. I actually found myself on the last page thinking "That's It?" and having to re-read the pair's last scene together.
I recommend reading the Alchemist, then if you liked it, give this one a go....maybe you could explain some of the bigger picture ideas to me.