The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Witch stories most often capture my interest. This one, though, is nothing I expected which could turn out a good thing. I say it was a good surprise.

The heroine, Athena, is quite elusive. Apart from the collected conversations of people acquainted with her, we never really know who she is. We only get to read her thoughts through second hand accounts and there's the uncertainty if some are more accurate than not.

She has been called many names, influenced others with her spiritual beliefs and sought much knowledge about the feminine power, but who exactly is she? That is what makes this an intriguing tale.

As always, Coelho digs into the human spirituality, or a woman's heart, and explores many facets, nailing down almost the lengths a woman will go to for self-fulfillment and, most of all, for love.

The Witch of Portobello didn't follow the usual formula of narration in a novel. The style of writing actually gave better light to a number of things, like a two-way mirror. It clearly displayed how one person could be perceived in different impressions by others and it also showed the innate thoughts of the observers, giving a glimpse to their own vulnerability and conflicted emotions. It was like one psychological stew mixed with philosophy.

It was piercing and bitter and beautiful in some ways. It opens your mind like a flower fully bloomed. Perhaps it was a bit winding, a bit of an echo of something else but still captivating and mysterious.


How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves, even if we are unsure of whom 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.

Title: The Witch of Portobello
Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Philosophy, Spirituality
Published: 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: ♨♨ (4 cups - A spiritual journey to discover ourselves and life. Quite unforgettable.)