How do we find the courage to be true to ourselves always—even if we're unsure who we are?
This is the central issue of the profound new work by international bestselling author Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello. It's the story of a mysterious woman named Athena, told by the many who knew her ... well--or hardly anything. Among them: "People create a reality, and then they become the victims of it. Athena rebelled against that—with a high price paid."
Ryan Heron, a journalist
"Athena used me and manipulated me, with no regard for my feelings. She was my teacher in charge of passing on the sacred mysteries, waking up the unknown energy that we all possess. We blindly trust those who guide us when we venture into that unfamiliar sea, believing they know more than we do."
Andrea McCain, Performer
"The big problem with Athena was that she was a woman of the twenty-second century who lived in the twenty-first century, and did not make any secrets about the fact either. She paid a price? Of course she did. But if she had repressed her natural exuberance she would have paid a price even higher. She would always have been bitter, frustrated, concerned about 'what other people might think,' always saying, 'I'm just going to sort these things out, then I'm going to devote myself to my dream,' always complaining, 'that the conditions are never quite right.'"
Deidre O'Neill, dubbed Edda
Like The Alchemist, Portobello's Witch is the sort of story that transforms the way readers think about love, passion, joy and sacrifice.
Our body remains alive, yet sooner or later our soul will receive a mortal blow. The perfect crime--for we don't know who murdered our joy, what their motives were, or where the guilty parties are to be found.
Love fills everything. It cannot be desired because it is an end in itself. It cannot betray because it has nothing to do with possession. It cannot be held prisoner because it is a river and will overflow its banks. Anyone who tries to imprison love will cut off the spring that feeds it, and the trapped water will grow stagnant.
After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn't bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it's a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it's sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we're doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.