The Witch of Portobello

January 3, 2019

 

 

People learn twenty-five percent from their teacher, twenty-five percent from listening to themselves, twenty-five percent from their friends, and twenty-five percent from time.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello.

 

The Witch of Portobello is Paul Coelho back on form. I have written about two of his other books: The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes previously, although I had read some of his other books and didn’t seem to get on with them well, they seemed a bit too smug. This book was the exception. The story carries on many of Coelho’s themes in his other books- love, sex, religion and being true to yourself, but the characters were mysterious and left you guessing and it was a book I didn’t want to end.

 

The Witch of Portobello tells the story of Anthea, a young woman who goes in search of the cure for her restlessness in her heart. In doing so, she learns the art of dance, calligraphy, finds her birth mother and becomes a teacher to others. At each junction in her life, she is changed, but never seems to quite find what she is searching for.

 

There is Coelho’s usual words of wisdom peppered throughout the book –often two or three phrases per page, but the narrative and characters were strong enough (unlike some of his other books) that it didn’t feel like a lecture. Unlike other of Coelho's books, I have kept this one on my bookshelf.

 

“You are what you believe yourself to be.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

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