It has been strange to read such a cynical story by Paulo Coelho, whose books seemed to me the anti thesis of cynicism. I had loved “The Alchemist”, and I had liked “Veronica Decides to Die” as well, very much. Somewhere along the line Coelho may have decided that he was no longer going to be the Mr. Nice Guy. He may have felt that he needed to write a story about the superficiality of the very rich, very famous in show business. He may have been disillusioned. So he wrote a cynical novel.
The problem does not lie in its cynicism, or depiction of the dark underbelly of the “superclass”, which, apparently, is a real term. The problem lies in the fact that Coelho does not show. He tells. Page after page after repeated page. He tells us that the super class is superficial. They lead tired empty meaningless lives. They manipulate. They form cartels. They have surgery to enhance their looks. They are afraid of growing old. How do we know? Coelho tells us.
This information has no relevance to the story of murder and mayhem that is “The Winner Stands Alone”. No matter. It is revealed again and again, woven into a story that has potential.
I cannot believe what I just wrote. Paulo Coelho’s story has potential! Ouch!
The question now remains, did the story get lost in translation? Or did Coelho just want to write something different, and make a hash of it?
I also failed to discern the relationship the name of the novel has to the story between the covers.
All in all, a sad disappointment.
Perhaps there are two Paulo Coelho’s? One who wrote “The Alchemist” and one who tried to write a book called “The Winner Stands Alone”.