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Book Review: Adultery

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Original title





August 19, 2014





What kills a relationship between two people is precisely the lack of challenge, the feeling that nothing is new anymore. We need to continue to be a surprise for each other.

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery


Adultery is a novel by the famous Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It is the 16th major book by the author. As evident from the name, this novel is based on the theme of adultery and the author tries to analyse the reasons why people commit adultery.

Nothing happens without effort. You have to have faith. And for that, you have to break down the barriers of prejudice, which requires courage. To have courage, you must conquer your fears. And so on and so forth. Let’s make peace with our days. We can’t forget that life is on our side. It also wants to get better. Let’s help it out!

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery



The novel deals with the story of a woman Linda in her thirties who is bored of her monotonous routine. She has a perfect life on the surface. She is married to a rich and successful man who loves her. She has beautiful children. She herself is an acclaimed journalist. But still she feels extreme boredom in her life which is slowly pushing her towards depression. She had a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend who is now a successful politician. She had gone to interview him and she ends up having sex with him. They start an affair which she finds very exciting. And now she wants to conquer her love at any cost. Towards the end, she ends her affair just as abruptly as she had started it. She didn’t even bother to explain the reason to her lover.

Going after a dream has a price. It may mean abandoning our habits, it may make us go through hardships, or it may lead us to disappointment, et cetera. But however costly it may be, it is never as high as the price paid by people who didn’t live. Because one day they will look back and hear their own heart say: ‘I wasted my life.’

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery

My Review

The theme of the novel seemed quite interesting but something is amiss. I find boredom as a reason to start an affair quite illogical. The heroine of the novel comes across a self-centered person who is concerned only about her happiness and doesn’t care how her actions are going to affect others. The author has tried to analyse in-depth the psychology behind adultery. He has reasoned that boredom is the reason that people resort to adultery. At one point, he says “What kills a relationship between two people is precisely the lack of challenge, the feeling that nothing is new anymore. We need to continue to be a surprise for each other.”

C oming from the acclaimed author like Paulo Coelho, the book is a let down. Delving deep into the psyche of a woman whose marriage was routine, the author tries to conjure up an interesting tale of redeemed love but fails miserably. The protagonist Linda fails to evoke any sympathy. I wasn't able to like her, empathise with her or even understand her. The pacing, the narration, the writing style of the book is just perfect but the problem lies in the content. Linda is a highly selfish woman who is only concerned with self gratification. The author has tried hard to justify her but boredom is a flimsy reason for adultery.

My Rating- 2/5

You don’t choose your life; it chooses you. There’s no point asking why life has reserved certain joys or griefs, you just accept them and carry on. We can’t choose our lives, but we can decide what to do with the joys or griefs we’re given.

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery

'Adultery' Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What was the name of the principal character in Adultery?
    • Linda
    • Brida
  2. What country is the setting for Adultery by Paulo Coelho?
    • France
    • Switzerland
  3. Adultery was originally published as ...
    • Adultério in French
    • Adultério in Portuguese
  4. Linda has an affair with a ...
    • Politician
    • Business Tycoon
  5. Adultery was published in...
    • 2014
    • 2015

Answer Key

  1. Linda
  2. Switzerland
  3. Adultério in Portuguese
  4. Politician
  5. 2014

About The Author

Paulo Coelho is bestselling Brazilian novelist who is recipient of many international awards.He is best known for his critically acclaimed novel The Alchemist. His other prominent works include The Piligrimage, Brida, Like The Flowing River, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, Manuscript Found In Accra, The Spy, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, The Fifth Mountain, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Valkyries, Veronika Decides to Die and Manual of the Warrior of Light.

More Book Reviews

Paulo Coelho: Hear What the Universe Is Telling You

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© 2018 Shaloo Walia


Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on June 18, 2020:

Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. Thanks Shaloo for sharing the review.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on June 18, 2020:

@Dens Yang Brida is one of my favorite books.

Dens Yang from Cebu, Philippines on June 18, 2020:

There's something in Paulo Coelho's stories that enriches me as a human being. I am currently reading his book, Brida and so far, I quite like how the story is going.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on October 08, 2019:

You're welcome, Dr Pran.

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on October 08, 2019:

Paulo Coelho is also one of my favorite authors too. He has depicted so nicely some of the basic human emotions in such a nice story.

Thanks for sharing the review.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 26, 2018:

@Dora Paulo Coelho is a master at his craft. This book pales in comparison to his other books. May be the expectations were too high!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 26, 2018:

Thanks for your honest review. Still, I like the lines you quoted from the book. It's possible that my thoughts on this work may be different from yours.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 05, 2018:

@Manatita There are very, very few fortunate ones who are able to go from the lowest to the highest. We have the example of Sage Valmiki to inspire us. But again, this is possible only because of some good past karmas.

manatita44 from london on July 05, 2018:

On one level, yes. On another level, no. Love is the 'more' that we seek. So for example, the alcoholic seeks it in alcohol. The drug addict seeks it in drugs; the family man seeks it in children and home. Life is a conscious or unconscious search for this one Whole, without which the soul will not be happy.

Maya is God's body. Nothing comes from an empty void. So yes, there is human and divine love, yes. I'm saying, that seen from a Higher standpoint, all is a quest for this ultimate Bliss. That is what Bullah and others have said. This thread runs from the lowest to the Highest Light.

Not to worry, I'm just contributing in a different way. You need not go for this. Om Shanti!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 04, 2018:

@John Yeah, I could have understood if circumstances or an unhappy marriage was given as a reason. But boredom? Towards the end, Linda goes for paragliding to feel the adrenaline rush. And this was what adultery was to her- means to provide some excitement in her monotonous life. I just couldn't relate to it.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 04, 2018:

Shaloo, thank you for sharing this review. Paulo Coelho is also one of my favourite authors. I have the Alchemist and The Pilgrimage in my collection. He is clearly a deep thinker and the author of some very memorable quotes, but that said, if the main character in a novel is unlikable or fails to evoke your sympathy then the novel will not succeed. Having read some of his other works mentioned, I find that "boredom" as a legitimate reason for infidelity to be uncharacteristic of what I would expect from Paulo.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on July 04, 2018:

@Manatita Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite writers. His deep, philosophical thoughts are what make his writing special. But this particular book just fails to connect. I appreciate your point of view but there is a difference between a soul seeking love and a soul seeking self gratification. A soul seeking love will come to the Divine sooner or later but a soul seeking self gratification is under the control of the illusory energy of Maya.

manatita44 from london on July 04, 2018:

Hi Shaloo.

For me it's a beautiful word. Paul Coelho is deep and so perhaps you can see it as a soul in search of fulfilment. It knows it is separate or isolated from God as Rumi says, and that only love will give it that abiding satisfaction.

Boredom will always come no matter the relationship, in this case she abandons a seemingly happy one. But she is seeking, as all souls must do - sooner or later - for that real gem from which they came.

Boredom is that of an unsatisfied soul. It has pleasure, but that is not enough and at the choice hour it will seek something else and as it is with the nature of all things, that also will not be enough.

This endless cycle or wheel keeps spinning until the soul finds that which it has always been seeking and rest in God. The microcosm is always a model of the macrocosm. What happens in the smaller scheme is a sort of preparation for the life to come, without which happiness will always elude us.

Just another take on this. Coelho was or is very philosophical. Again for him, mistakes are made only to be corrected. I think he sees them as necessary choices. But yes, I like the word 'boredom'. Would you prefer 'feels alone', unfulfilled? same difference.

The soul is conscious of the joy it once had and is missing it, trying to find the right road to take ... the right Path to seek. Om Shanti!1

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