The Witch of Portobello failed to put me under her spell

I just finished Paulo Coelho’ The Witch of Portobello and it was quite an exhausting read. I thought it would never come to an end and the book is only 250 pages.

While I did find the style interesting – a compilation of various interviews from all the protagonists except the main one – the rhythm never picked up.

I feel like I have been reading this book for months. It is rather repetitive and void of any event, neither factual, nor psychological. I will concede that the first hundred or so pages are quite engaging and make you want to know more about Athena (the witch) and her life and this is all going to. Unfortunately, it is not going anywhere and this is proven through over 150 pages.

It was quite disappointing for I did read other novels from Coelho and I find them very absorbing, disturbing even. They made me feel uneasy, the made me think, they moved me. I am thinking here of Veronika Decides to Die or By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept but here… nothing. At best the relief I had finally reached the end of the book.

I really hope the next novel I will read from Coelho will bring shine back on his name. Right now, I think I’ll stay away from fiction for a little while.

Image: Third Way Blog

Portobello

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About John Barré

English & German into French translator. Interested in languages, literature, video games, localisation & translation - among many other topics.
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