Adultery by Paulo Coelho


Source: Free review copy via Amazon Vine
Title: Adultery
Author: Paulo Coelho
published: 2014
pages: 255
genre: fiction
first line: Every morning, when I open my eyes to the so-called “new day”, I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars


Linda knows she’s lucky.

Yet every morning when she opens her eyes to a so-called new day, she feels like closing them again.

Her friends recommend medication.

But Linda wants to feel more, not less.

And so she embarks on an adventure as unexpected as it is daring, and which reawakens a side of her that she – respectable wife, loving mother, ambitious journalist – thought had disappeared.

Even she can’t predict what will happen next…

My thoughts:

Having heard such wonderful things about Paulo Coelho I had been eager to read his work.
What I found within these pages was shocking on the surface, but as I kept reading and delved in a bit deeper, I found much more.

The story is narrated by Linda, who seems to have everything, a loving husband, two children, a successful career as a journalist and financial stability. The story is set in Geneva, Switzerland.

However, Linda is unhappy, loneliness is at the core of her problems. She can’t sleep at night, she feels unfulfilled and she has guilt over feeling this way.
One day Linda interviews Jacob, an ex boyfriend turned politician, and this meeting changes her life forever as she begins a dangerous extramarital affair with this married man.

I found Linda to be not only an un-likeable character, but also an unreliable narrator. I read in shock at her behavior because she just seemed to be so out of control and selfish. I also wondered if Coelho just wanted to stun the reader at times. Reading Linda’s story was kind of like watching a train wreck occur, you do not want to look, but you cannot remove your eyes from it.

Linda just keeps spiraling out of control, but all the while I found the author portrays her loneliness and her inner turmoil brilliantly.

I feel nothing. I think nothing. I get straight into my car and drive, not knowing exactly where I should go. No one is waiting for me at the end of the journey. Melancholy has become apathy.
p.106 Adultery by Paulo Coelho

She becomes somewhat obsessed with Jacob and some of her actions were truly hard to believe as she nearly dives off the deep end even trying to frame his wife. This is a woman who is depressed and looking for happiness in the wrong places, I wondered how it would all end for her.

I thought Coelho did a great job when writing about the act of adultery itself all the while giving the story depth. This woman is committing this act, and you see how it branches out and affects everyone around her. Although I do not buy the “genetic code” explanation in the snippet below, I do agree with the second half of this quote about it being a theft. I do not like hearing that men cheat because they “can’t help it” or because it’s in their nature to “spread their seed”,  that is a cop out excuse.

Men cheat because it’s in their genetic code. A woman does it because she doesn’t have enough dignity; in addition to handing over her body, she always ends up handing over a bit of heart. A true crime. A theft. It’s worse than robbing a bank, because if one day she is discovered (and she always is), she will cause irreparable damage to her family.
p.167, Adultery by Paulo Coelho

Adultery was an uncomfortable read and my first foray into this authors work. I recommend it if you are in the mood for something not only shocking but with some depth as the author goes into the mind of a depressed individual. This is not a happy read, and it is one that left me unsettled. Coelho’s writing is engaging and demands your attention.

About the author:
One of the most influential writers of our time, Paulo Coelho is the author of many international best sellers, including The Alchemist, Aleph, Eleven Minutes, and Manuscript Found in Accra. Translated into 80 languages, his books have sold more than 165 million copies in more than 170 countries. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and has received the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur. In 2007, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free copy of Adultery by Paulo Coelho via AmazonVine.

18 thoughts on “Adultery by Paulo Coelho

  1. I have only read the Alchemist, which I liked but didn’t completely love. Great review! Wondering if I really want to read any of his other books though. I’m just kind of “meh” about the whole thing.


  2. I’m interested as well as to why the protagonist is female. I wonder if it’s meant to be a modern day “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” – in terms of trying to stun readers, I mean, and not in terms of why the protagonist engages in the affair.

    Adultery and infidelity is a thorny topic for me – I would find it hard to forgive the participants. That last snippet is interesting – I wonder if a female author would frame it in that way; there are, surely, many women who are able to engage in affairs without feeling emotional losses every single time.


    • Hi Lady Disdain! I haven’t read Lady Chatterly’s Lover but that is an interesting observation. Yes, this is a touchy subject, I read this one sans judgement.


  3. Outstanding commentary on this book Naida.

    I tend to really like unlikeable characters if that that makes any sense so this one sounds appealing.

    The characterization and plot sounds fascinating.

    I do want to read Paulo Coelho.


    • Thank you Brian. Unlikeable characters are appealing aren’t they? Some of my favorites are the anti-heroes. I want to read more from Coelho myself.


  4. Great review, Naida! I’ve yet to read anything by this author but I know I won’t be reading this as a start. 😉


  5. I haven’t read anything by him but it definitely intrigues me. Coelho is such a prolific writer so if I do read a book by him, it probably won’t be this one first hahaha. Great review! I didn’t know Amazon Vine sent such great books.


  6. Hi Naida,

    I too, have never read any of Coelho’s books and although he is an internationally acclaimed author, I don’t think his writing is for me, if your excellent review and astute analysis of ‘Adultery’ is anything to go by.

    Given that this is such a recently published book, I was disappointed that Coelho sets Linda up, as not only the instigator of this adulterous affair, but then manages to somehow contrive to make her the victim!!

    In my experience, there are as many, if not more, adulterous women than there are men, out there. Also, most women who instigate adultery, certainly don’t seem to be “handing over a bit of heart”, or be at all worried about the damage they inflict on either their own or anyones else’s family, at least not more so than any man who does the same thing!

    Rant over 🙂

    I know that you have to be selected and invited to join Amazon Vine, but do they give you any idea of the criteria you have met to be awarded this privilege?

    Have a great Sunday,



  7. Hello Yvonne. Yes, interesting isn’t it? This one can be dissected and discussed plenty.
    I agree, it feels like Coelho assumes that all women are emotional and feel like they have given away their hearts when being adulterous. I don’t buy it either but I do agree that it causes irreparable damage. I’m sure some women cheat and don’t bat an eye lash later.

    Come to think of it, he writes Linda as being obsessed later on during the affair. She really starts to lose her mind and is willing to break the law! Meanwhile Jacob, remains cool calm and collected.
    Thanks for your insight as always 🙂


  8. Yvonne, about Amazon Vine…I was emailed years ago with an invite, I think it was still a new program. I had always reviewed products on Amazon, any purchases I made or any books I read, even books that were not bought on Amazon. I think they look at your review history and at the number of helpful votes.


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