The Witch Of Portobello is a narrative tale about a woman born out of wedlock in Transylvania. The book is a journey into her life and her search for her identity. It is a work of fiction authored by Paulo Coelho, the renowned Brazilian writer.
Summary Of The Book
The protagonist is a woman named Sherine Khalil, who was born out of wedlock to a Romani gypsy in Transylvania. Her birth mother abandons her and she is adopted by a Lebanese couple. Sherine Khalil prefers to be called Athena.
Athena is already dead when the story begins. There are several narratives from different people who had known her or shared a relationship with her during her lifetime. Together, these narratives told from different viewpoints, tell the story of Athena’s life, about her birth, the subsequent abandonment and adoption, her education, her unsuccessful marriage, her motherhood and finally her spiritual journey. The plot picks up in the latter half of the book when Athena acknowledges the inherent power in her and imparts her ‘secrets’ to her student in the hope of him spreading the knowledge to the world.
The Witch Of Portobello is a powerful tale and raises questions about being true to oneself. Through Athena, the book questions the prevalent norms of religion and spirituality. Like most of Coelho’s works, The Witch Of Portobello bears the unmistakable mark of his personal take on spiritualism and religion.
The Witch of Portobello was first published in 2006. The original title of the book in Portuguese is A Bruxa de Portobello. It has been translated in over 40 languages and was well received by readers across countries.