Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The winner stands alone

Author: Paulo Coelho

My friend once boasted that he knew what exactly to expect from a Paulo Coelho novel. Paulo stopped writing anything different after Alchemist, he assured me.

But for me, each story held a promise of fresh characters and unexpected behaviors; they were appealing to my senses. The Winner stands alone, really stands alone in my list; despite the same theme; despite the references to Santiago, and finding about one's destiny; this book lacks a provoking story to support them all.

'The Winner stands alone' is about a Russian business giant Igor, in search of his estranged wife, now married to a fashion couturier. He travels to Cannes, where he knows that his wife and her lover will appear to present their collections in fashion shows, scheduled along with the film festival. Igor is ready to do anything, even kill people, to get her back.

He gets about 'destroying universes', in other words, kill strangers during the film festival, so that his wife gets the message. But half way through the killings, he pauses to think if the killings were actually worthy? Suddenly his angelic wife becomes an ordinary mortal.

Paulo gets sloppy in handling this transition, and instead theorizes a lot of dogmas about super class and the world of glamour. Just like the protagonist, the author too seems to lose his motivation he had in the beginning, and the book spirals down to an unsatisfactory ending, without the reader getting any 'message' out of it.

The almost cynical, yet fresh take on the life of super class is amusing.
The philosophies apart from the main story.
Some beautiful quotes which lingered with me long after I finished the book - which are of course not at all related to the story! :-) 
Too much preaching
No skeleton story to support the author's ideals.
Would have been good as a non-fiction.

Some interesting quotes, which I came across:
  1. People are never satisfied. If they have a little, they want more. If they have a lot, they still want more. Once they have more, they wish they could be happy with little, but are incapable of making the slightest effort in that direction.
  2. Everything you know comes from experience accumulated over long years of work. If you wanna be creative, forget that you have all that experience.
  3. Talent is a universal gift, but it takes a lot of courage to use it. Don't be afraid to be the best.
It's always good to share the agony of reading through a long book, without actually getting the desired value/expectation, especially if an unwary reader ends up with such a book. But the review is truly a personal opinion, and opinions always vary!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Second quote is very true.