On my recent visit to the book store, I came across the latest novel by Paulo Coelho named The Spy. As it was based on the life of Mata Hari, a person I have always been intrigued and fascinated about since my high school days…I immediately bought the book by just looking at the cover.
I love Paulo Coelho, some of his books have helped me in my self-growth. But I found his last novel ‘Adultery’ very disappointing and thankfully, The Spy is much better than his previous book. It is not as great as his other novels nevertheless it is an interesting and gripping read.
If you like historical fiction, you’ll like this novel. The Spy is an easy and light read. Perfect book for reading while traveling and a good one-time-read.
Excerpt from the book:
When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city.
As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.
But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs-Élysées and accused of espionage.
Mata Hari was a legendary dancer and courtesan of Dutch origin, she is best remembered for being executed by firing squad during World War I for espionage.
The Spy is a part fictional tale told in Mata Hari’s voice. Paulo Coelho weaves a compelling account through Mata Hari’s final letter to her lawyer. It tells the story of an independent woman who dared to disregard tradition and had to pay the ultimate price.
As a Coelho fan, I was a bit disappointed with the book as I felt it was slow-paced and not up to my expectations. Wish her portrait was etched more clearly. But having said that, it is worth reading once.
Some of my favorite quotes from this novel are:
“Love kills suddenly, leaving no evidence of the crime.”
“Better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without knowing what you’re fighting for.”
“Memories bring with them a devil called melancholy.”
“Forgive but do not forget, or you will be hurt again. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson.”
“When we don’t know where life is taking us, we are never lost.”
“Every moment should be lived with feeling and emotion because if we try to decipher it and understand it, the magic disappears.”
“Memory is a river, one that always runs backward.”
“I am a woman who was born at the wrong time and nothing can be done to fix this.”
“Remember this when you feel joy, pain or sadness. Everything passes, grows old, dies and is reborn.”