Sunday, September 28, 2014

“Adultery” by Paulo Coelho – The Nature of Fulfillment

Adultery by Paulo Coelho (Book cover)
Though most of Coelho's novels are rather well-appreciated by most people, Adultery is one of his more controversial ones, where it seems that people either love or hate it. The novel tells the story of Linda, an upper class housewife who seems to have it all: a promising career, a loving husband and wonderful children.

However, she can never find true satisfaction in her idyllic life, and chooses to propel herself onto a rather daring adventure that may compromise the life she was already worked so hard to achieve.

Stranded between the fears that everything may suddenly change and that, on the other hand, everything may remain the same until the end of her days, Linda comes to learn a lot more about herself than she bargained for.

On the surface, Adultery actually does seem like a somewhat purposeless novel that tells a rather banal story, that of a cheating housewife who simply never has her fill. That, I believe, is what turned most people away from it: the meaninglessness of it all.

However, if one takes a closer look at the happenings in this novel and the many ideas expressed within, I believe it becomes rather apparent that this story is used to explore, above marital relations, the importance of self-love and self-fulfillment, how they can end up controlling our lives and guiding all of our decisions.

In the end those are the things we may be yearning for the most, we may be in need of the most. In other words, what I am trying to convey is that like most Coelho novels, it appears like a simple, open and shut case on the surface... but beneath it lie layers and layers of thinking.

As far as the actual plot itself is concerned, I'm afraid there isn't all that much excitement for those who crave entertainment, thrills and chills. Much of it is Linda's character development, with her thoughts really taking the center stage for most of the book... and she does drop a number of gems of wisdom, with Coelho stating through her the various observations he made in his life and the conclusions he has come to.

The interest of following the story comes not from wanting to know what happens next, but from the desire to see what revelations the journey will bring about for Linda.

As has always been the case with Coelho's novels, Adultery is written in a very simple and elegant prose, one none will have trouble understanding. Nevertheless, he manages to use the simplest of words to convey the deepest wisdom and depict the most beautiful landscapes imaginable, taking us right to the heart of what makes Geneva the city it is.

Adultery by Paulo Coelho (Book cover)
All things taken into consideration, Adultery is certainly a step sideways from what we are used to seeing from the author, and it is a work which can easily be misinterpreted and misunderstood by those who choose to take it at face value.

This is the kind of book that will please those who want character development and depth out of their literature; the nature of personal fulfillment and self-love are topics that interest you, then I certainly recommend you have a look at this book.

Paulo Coelho (Author)

Paulo Coelho

Personal site

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian novelist and lyricist, sometimes known by the name of Paul Rabbit. His unusual and deeply-moving novels have made of him one of the most widely-read authors today, earning him an array of international awards, including the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. His most famous novel, The Alchemist, has been translated in over 67 languages to date.

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