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The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

The Witch of Portobello (2006)

by Paulo Coelho

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,781622,107 (3.29)75
  1. 10
    The Zahir by Paulo Coelho (leosabana)
    leosabana: Tiene frases realmente hermosas, que te ayudarán en el día a día; que te aportarán ánimos cuando no veas luz.

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English (54)  Spanish (5)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All (62)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Mother goddess.....feminine spirituality

I started this audio relatively unaware of the themes.
To those interested in these philosophies,the book would
probably be enjoyable.

Simply not my cup of tea.....
But, made for a reasonable read ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 23, 2016 |

Athena (self named) adopted daughter of a Lebanese family grows up in the united states. From an early age she becomes enchanted w/ spiritual mysticism and allows herself to become one with the spirits of possession; all the while manipulating the powers of the Spirits and everyone around her to do her ego based bidding..... Which of course leads her into stormy relationships and eventually inescapable trouble. Needless to say I didn't like her nor did I have empathy for her.

Her life story is told from different povs of those who were entangled in her web.

The book is richly written in a style evocative of the mystical & lush life of a "spiritualist".... A nice piece of literature that I did not care for, but makes me understand why so many others like his writing! ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
At the beginning of the book, our protagonist, Athena, is dead. She spent her life searching. She practiced an unidentified form of Goddess worship, and despite her objections, those around her expected her to know everything, to perform miracles. Everything we learn about Athena comes from interviews with various people who knew her: her ex-husband, her adoptive mother, her biological mother, her teacher, and her student, among others. As we get farther into the book, we realize that none of these people really knew Athena and that all of their perceptions are skewed in some way. In order to understand the real Athena, we have to look at what’s not said—at the spaces between the words.

Coelho is one of my favorite authors. I usually love his novels, but this one just didn’t speak to me the way some of his others have. I never really liked Athena, even after I realized that I wasn’t getting the whole story from the various narrators. I really like the idea of getting to know a character only through the flawed perceptions of those around her, but that wasn’t enough to redeem the novel for me.

I did find several quotes that resonated with me for one reason or another:

“Learn, but always learn with other people by your side. Don’t be alone in the search, because if you take a wrong step, you’ll have no one there to help put you right.”

“There are many philosophical systems—such as Taoism and Buddhism—that make no distinction between creator and creature. People no longer try to decipher the mystery of life but choose instead to be a part of it.”

“Is learning just putting things on a shelf or is it discarding whatever is no longer useful and then continuing on your way feeling lighter?” ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
This book was very good! A great message of the power of a woman. ( )
  Cshantay | Dec 4, 2015 |
This book is fantastic and mystical. The characters take you on a journey of this woman's life that is truly amazing, awakening a desire to explore your own spirituality. ( )
  BridgettKathryn | Sep 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (72 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paulo Coelhoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Janssen, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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O Mary conceived without sin,
pray for those who turn to you.


No man, when he hath lighted a candle,
putteth it in a secret place,
neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick,
that they which come in may see the light.

--Luke 11:33
Dla S. F. X. - słońca, które rozsiało światłość i ciepło wszędzie, gdzie zawitało; wzoru dla tych, którzy sięgają myślą poza swoje horyzonty.

For S.F.X.,

a sun who spread light and
warmth wherever he went,
and was an example to all those
who think beyond their horizons
First words
No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people's eyes, to reveal the marvels around.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061338818, Paperback)

How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of who we are?

That is the central question of international bestselling author Paulo Coelho's profound new work, The Witch of Portobello. It is the story of a mysterious woman named Athena, told by the many who knew her well—or hardly at all. Like The Alchemist, The Witch of Portobello is the kind of story that will transform the way readers think about love, passion, joy, and sacrifice.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Traces the life of Athena, an abandoned daughter of a Transylvania gypsy, in a tale told from the viewpoints of such characters as her adoptive journalist mother, a teacher of calligraphy, and an actress.

» see all 13 descriptions

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