cover image Demonio y la Senorita Prym = The Devil and Miss Prym

Demonio y la Senorita Prym = The Devil and Miss Prym

Paulo Coelho. Grijalbo, $15.48 (0pp) ISBN 978-970-05-1297-6

Acclaimed Brazilian author Coelho presents the third title in a trilogy that began with the novels A orillas del Rio Piedra me sent y llore (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Planeta, 1998) and Veronika decide morir (Veronika Decides to Die, Planeta, 2000), both of which concern a week in the life of an ordinary person suddenly confronted with love and death. Like these two titles, Coelho's new novel reflects his professed belief that the most profound changes in individuals and in society occur in brief periods of time, as the result of extreme challenges. In this case, Coelho's fable revolves around the question of whether people will commit evil in order to gain wealth and power. After burying some gold in the forest, a visitor arrives in a small village in the Pyrenees and initiates a power struggle among the villagers by offering to give them the gold if they kill one of their own. Coelho best explains the personal crisis of the villagers through the young barmaid Chantal, who becomes the visitor's messenger and struggles with her choices and beliefs about good and evil in humankind. Coelho has been called a New Age writer for his use of allegories, moral messages, and uplifting life lessons. Although some readers might not agree with his preaching, the intriguing and fluid plot will keep them interested, just as it did in his six previous best-selling novels. Recommended for public libraries and bookstores with a New Age section. Lynn Shirey, Harvard Coll. Lib., Cambridge, MA