Mrsgaskell's Reviews > The Devil and Miss Prym

The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho
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Dec 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: bookclub, reread, library, 8-star
Read from December 03 to 06, 2010

** spoiler alert **

"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready." - from the author's note

I first read this 2 1/2 years ago and was keen to read it again when it was chosen by one of my book clubs. I still think the basic concept of the story is great – the temptation of the villagers by the Stranger who comes into their midst. They are offered 10 bars of gold if they will murder a mutually agreed upon victim within a week. The Stranger also places temptation before Chantal Prym, a young barmaid. He offers her one bar of gold for her part in presenting his offer to the villagers. But since he has shown her where that bar of gold is buried, she could simply steal it and leave the village without saying anything to the rest of the villagers. It’s interesting to see the important people of the village, the priest, the mayor, the landowner, trying to influence the outcome and justify their decision to accept the deal offered by the Stranger and the selection of the victim. Coelho is attempting to prove that both good and evil reside in humans and the choice rests with the individual. But I felt upon this reading that the denouement didn’t really support this conclusion - the villagers’ ultimate choice was made by the realization and fear that they might not get what they had expected from the deal. Although they did not carry out the murder, it was not because they rejected evil. Still, this short novel offers much to think about and should provide a good book group discussion. I originally rated this book 10 stars but on second reading, I’m giving it 8 stars.
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Quotes Mrsgaskell Liked

Paulo Coelho
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready.”
Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym


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