Book Review: The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho

Another amazing story was written by one of the biggest contemporary writers, and one of my personal favorites, Paulo Coelho. If you’ve never heard of him then you are probably living under a rock somewhere, but if you did, praise yourself this book is one of the best he’s ever written.

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The action is placed in Cannes during the film festival and it surrounds two former spouses who are now divorced, she is the one who left him for one of the world’s most talented designers. Igor, the ex-husband, is not accepting the fact that Ewa stopped loving him and will do anything in his power to convince her to come back. His plan is to destroy a couple of worlds, aka commit crimes, to get her attention, especially since he knows she and her lover are going to be present at the festival.

The story is taking place over one day and is narrated in turns by everyone who will interact with the couple, along with Igor and Ewa. The peace of the small French town is now threatened by a war in the name of love, in the most important time of the year, the film festival, that is gathering the most important people of the industry.

Apart from the main conflict, that of obsessive love, Coelho also offers a glance in the life of the most adulated people, the celebrities. Talks about the dark side of fame, the shallow life of those who are the actors in the play directed by the puppet masters that sit in the shadow, but also about the lives of those who aspire to get in the spotlight, even if, just for a moment.

I would say that The Winner Stands Alone is my favorite book from the author’s bibliography and, at least in my point of view, tops The Alchemist. Don’t know if this is because it describes the most notorious worlds, that of celebrities. The book made me question everything related to glamour and gave me an inside of a world that is always painted so pretty for the outsiders, even if the ones that are part of it comes at a high price.

The end of the book is not a happy one and definitely not what I’d expected. No, I will not spoil the surprise by telling you how it ends, but I will challenge you to read it, especially if you, like myself, are attracted to the glamorous life of the celebrities. Happy reading everyone!

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