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The Witch of Portobello

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  63,609 ratings  ·  3,474 reviews
How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of whom we are?

That is the central question of international bestselling author Paulo Coelho's profound new work, The Witch of Portobello. It is the story of a mysterious woman named Athena, told by the many who knew her well—or hardly at all.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published 2007 (first published September 2006)
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Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
I always wished that Paulo Coehlo was my uncle so that I could call him ‘Papa Coelho’ and sit at his knee while he smoked his pipe. I think that he would be delightfully eccentric, and given to saying things like ‘Suffering, if confronted without fear, is the great passport to freedom.’ So, true, Papa Coelho. So true.
If he was my uncle, though, I might not tell him that I thought The Alchemist was tripe, and that most of his books carry too much philosophizing and not enough narrative. But in
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book *really* made me think about who I am and where I am going, and who I want to be as a woman, a wife, a soon-to-be-mother, a daughter, and a human.

I didn't always like Paulo Coehlo's work. I tried to read The Alchemist in college and the novel just didn't do it for me. But a friend recommended Veronika Decides to Die to me while a loved one was in the hospital for depression and I was struggling to understand what might be happening in there, and ever since, Coehlo has been one of my ob
Huda Yahya

ونجح باولو كويلو في أن يجعلني أعطي نجمة واحدة لكتاب يمجد قداسة الأنثى

الرواية واحدة من أكثر الكتب التي قرأتها إملالا وسخافة
بغض النظر عن التنمية البشرية التي تنضح بها الرواية
والتي هي عادة أصيلة عند كويلو
فالرواية كبناء ضعيفة
ورسم شخصياتها لم يكن على القدر المتوقع منه خاصة من كاتب رواية احدى عشر دقيقة
وفوق كل ذلك الرواية لم تأتِ بجديد

فلا متعة في الحكاية ولا في الفلسفة
وليست هناك قيمة من أي نوع

فقط غثاء وقرقرة ودس ألف نصيحة سيريالية لا معنى لها

وأخيرا روحانية كويلو تثير الغيظ
فعالمه ليس له وجود على ارض
Mar 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Mega-church enthusiasts.
Recommended to Mykle by: Portland International Airport
Trapped for hours in an airport with nothing to read, my wife was further victimized by this remarkably bad book, one of five books available for sale in Portland International Airport at 2am.

You can turn to any page and find a really hackneyed phrase. Kahil Gibrain's psuedo-religious drivel was at least poetic and brief by comparison. The story is supposed to be the voices of different people, but the Catholic priest, the Lebanese mother, the 65-year old restaurant owner, are all utterly indis
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Bruxa de Portobello = The witch of portobello, Paulo Coelho
The Witch of Portobello (Portuguese: A Bruxa de Portobello) is a fiction work by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho published in 2007, about a woman born in Transylvania to a Romani mother in a gypsy tribe without wedlock. The central character is abandoned by her birth mother because the father was a foreigner (gadje) and later adopted by a wealthy Lebanese couple.
عنوانها: ساحره پورتوبلو؛ ساحره ی پورتوبلو؛ جادوگر پورتوبلو؛ تاریخ نخستین خوا
Jan 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: found-on-a-plane
Preachy new age-y bullshit, with a distinct undertone of "I'm idealizing feminine qualities, so I can't possibly be sexist" sexism. Seriously, one of his characters lists four female archetypes that women supposedly follow, and although he calls them the witch, the virgin, the martyr and the saint, it's just that quote about how all roles for actresses are hookers, victims or doormats, with "bitch" thrown in for variety. The use of various narrators is one of my favorite narrative devices, but i ...more
Anish Kohli
Jan 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
What a load of crap, this..!!!
I had long since wanted to try a Paulo Coelho book and I picked this on impulse.
Man, I've never been soo damn wrong in my life.
Half way through it, I was getting HEADSPINS...!!! Being stubborn as I am, somehow managed to get through it and was left utterly dismayed and with a very bad taste in my mouth.
The author literally CHOKES you on his idea of spirituality and self awareness.

هديل خلوف
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
تتناول الرواية موضوعاً مشوقاً بالنسبة إلي , ألا وهو عبادة الطبيعة الأم ! .. قبل أن أتحدث عن رأيي بالرواية ومضمونها , دعوني أكلمكم قليلاً عن عبادة الطبيعة ..
هذا كان يا مكان وفي غابر الأزمان وقبل ظهور ما يسمى بالديانات السماوية كان هناك مفهوماً لدى غالبية البشر - تحول إلى عبادة فيما بعد - على أن الطبيعة تمنحنا الكثير وتخبرنا بأسرارها كل يوم .. كان القدماء يرون الجمال ويقدرونه حد العبادة .. ومن يمثل الجمال إلى جانب الطبيعة غير " الأنثى " ؟ لذلك ظهرت أفروديت عند الرومان وفينوس عند الإغريق .. عشتار ف
⊱ Poppy ⊰
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
‘The Witch of Portobello’ by Paulo Coelho is not a straight biographical book or the opinion of the writer on its main protagonists. It’s what the other people transcribe the writer about the women, the Witch of Portobello.

“No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door……..No one sacrifices the most important thing she possesses: love. No one places her dreams in the hands of those who might destroy them. No one, that is, but Athena.”

It’s the story of Athena, or Sherine Khalil, who w
أثينا الغجرية اليتيمة تائهة الروح .. امرأة من القرن الثاني والعشرين تحيا في القرن الحادي والعشرين من دون أن تتستر علي هذا الواقع فدفعت الثمن غالي ولكن مقابل إيجاد الحقيقة ... عاشت حياتها تبحث عن الإجابة ، تبحث عن الراحة عن الرضا ... فقد سرقت قلوب البعض وأسرت عقولهم لتجعلهم عبيدا لأفكارها لعنادها وروحها الغجرية مثيرة الجدل بأفكارها الغريبة ... لا تبالي بنوع العلاقة الناشئة بينها وبين أي شخص ما دام يخدم رحلة بحثها عن الطبيعة الأم عن الحقيقة الخطرة الكامنة في النفس البشرية ...

يبدع الكويلو في تقديم
Lynn Wilson
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I literally could not put this book down. While I'm a book lover and devour many books, I consider this one to be a very special treat.
Lamski Kikita
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people willing to be spiritually penetrated
spiritual, mystical, and will absolutely take over your soul!
while reading this book, i felt inhibited by every feeling and gesture, and was possessed by Athena, the woman who is everything each and everyone of us want to be, but is afraid of becoming. The book certainly questions organized religions and brings back the idea of mother earth as the ultimate goddess. I have to, no, i MUST, type up this quote:

" We women, when we are searching for a meaning to our lives or for the path of knowledge,
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
I really, really wanted to like this book. I've heard wonderful things about Coelho and was excited to try him out, I love topics that deal with witchcraft and things fantastical, and I'm a sucker for redheaded heroines.

But ...

I found this novel and its ideas on the nature of spirituality really preachy, pedantic and overblown. I was so annoyed by the middle of the book that I nearly put it down, but the cover art convinced me to keep trying. Surely the artist must have been inspired to create
Urmi  ✨ BookishPixieOfForbiddenForest✨
“You are what you believe yourself to be”

The Witch of Portobello is a very different form of a book. It requires your full attention and you will be pleased. It is one of Coelho’s books I'm ever gonna recommend to you.

This book tells you the story of Athena, a very mysterious woman, the story itself told by many different flesh entities who knew her or did not know her at all. She was born in Romania and her parents, a successful industrialist family of Beirut adopted her, as their much loved,
Mar 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one.
This is not a novel -- it's a treatise. There is a character, Athena, that I never come to care about, and there is no plot. What IS there, you ask? Well, there's an explication of a belief system. That's it. That's what this is.

Most of the book is taken up in various people talking to each other in the kind of philosophical conversations that normal people almost never have. Whenever you see a chat starting, buckle up.

I couldn't have been more disappointed, as I like Coelho most of the time. I
Amy McHugh
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Picked up this book at SFO before boarding my plane to Hawaii. Seemed like a total accident, given I had never heard of it and wasn't planning to buy it. But having read it, I acknowledge this as an example of the belief "there are no accidents."

From early childhood, I have been keenly aware of an accessible spiritual world, but lacked the encourgement or guidance to foster my ability to contact that world.

While the underlying message of this book is exploring the answer to the question "What is
Saddam Bouchaib
Oct 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
أنهيت الرواية لان ضميري يمنعني غالبا من أن أبدأ كتابا ولا أنهيه !

كانت واحدة من أكثر الروايات التي قرأتها مللا وسخافة

ربما تشبعت من الكلام الصوفي و "الام الكبرى" فهي بعيدة جدا عن معتقداتي... فلماذا البحث عن معرفة الله في الطبيعة أو عن طريق الرقص أو طقوس اعتبرها شعودة

فكرة عبادة الطبيعة و أن "الله لم يخلق الكون بل الله هو الكون" و "الإلهة الأنثى" كلها أفكار وثنية قديمة و لا علاقة لها بالإسلام. لاني تفاجات بالكثير من القراء المسلمين ممن تقبلوا هده الأفكار بحجة أنها مغذية روحانيًا..في رأيي أن يتشبعوا
Shwan Majeed
هذه الرواية جعلني ان اكون حزينا على وباولو كويلو لان خيب املي فيه، الحسنة الوحيدة في هذه الرواية هي طريقة وأسلوب جديد في السرد وهو ان يتكلم عن بطلة الرواية بس بمنظور من كانوا في حياتها، نستطيع ان نقول مثل تحقيقي صحفي ولكن ب لغة عميقة جدا وفلسفية ويحتاج تركيز ومزاح عالي جدا لتفهمه.
وايظا كعادته الكاتب باولو كويلو تكلم عن الأنثى في هذه الرواية مثل الكثير من أعماله، الجديد في هذه الرواية هي إظهار الصراع الداخلي للأنثى وما تعانيه في حياتها من مشكال وضغوطات وكيف تواجه، صحيح اُسلوب صعب وعميق ولكن لم يك
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ذهنم رو پر از سوال و فکر میکنه.تو تمام ساعت هایی که این کتاب رو میخونم و یا کنار میذارمش ذهنم رو درگیر خودش میکنه.روایت خیلی جالبی داشت و دوستش داشتم.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those who are looking for the inner flower
Recommended to Andrea by: No one
This book was a little "much." I was first introduced to Paulo Coelho with his acclaimed novel The Alchemist. I loved The Alchemist. It's clear the author is a "spiritualist" and takes pleasure in teaching lessons through simplicity and beauty. I found the Alchemist inspiring and well-written. The Witch of Portobello I found cultish and flowery. There was nothing natural about it - rather - almost something "forced" in trying to convey the story of a young woman finding her "center" through "the ...more
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure how to review this book. It's so completely different to anything I've ever read. I'm therefore not going to try to analyse it, because there are some fantastic reviews for this book, and I know mine will not be of the same standard. So I'm basically just going to write down my thoughts, and how the book made me feel.

The main character, Athena, discovers that there could be more to life after going to her neighbour's flat to complain about the loud music. What she sees when s
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Believe it or not, this is my first Paulo Coelho book and it was given to me by a dear friend. 💙


This the story of Athena, a mysterious woman, the story itself told by many different flesh entities who knew her or did not know her at all. She was born in Romania and her parents, a successful industrialist family of Beirut adopted her, as their much-loved, much-wanted daughter, who grew in wisdom and beauty. From an early age she had a strong religious vocation and knew all the gospels by hea
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
I bought this book in Cabo for a few pesos and later found it was being given away FREE, so my expectations were somewhat tempered and let me just say Coelho does not disappoint. Ahem.

On a positive note, Paulo Coelho has one of the great names in contemporary fiction, one that exudes a sort of exotic erudition, so one might say that only an author as magnificent as Coelho can draw the reader in and convince that reader he is purposefully fooling the reader into believing that this book was writt
Hiba Arrame
Ce livre a erré sur l'étagère de ma soeur pendant si longtemps maintenant et j'ai finalement décidé de l'emprunter et de donner une autre chance à Paulo Coelho, l'auteur du "best seller" après avoir été déçu par son célèbre roman "The Alchemist".

Alors, d'où en commencer et d'où en finir? Commençons d'abord par la structure que j'ai trouvé qu'elle n'était rien qu'une manifestation d'une envie inutile d'innover, et qui ne m'a pas du tout plu, parce qu'en écrivant l'histoire de la sorcière de Port
Mohammad Dawood
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
ساحرة بورتوبيللو باولو كويلو


عندما أقرأ لباولو كويلو أكاد لا أشعر بقيمة العمل الفني الذي أتناوله قدر إعجابي ولمسي للحس الصوفي الشرقي الذي يدخله كويلو في أعماله العديدة. ساحرة بورتوبيللو عمل فريد من نوعه على الأقل من حيث العرض الروائي فهذه هي المرة الأولى التي تصادفني رواية بمثل هذا السرد حيث تتكون الرواية من مجموعة شهادات لأصدقاء وشخصيات ذات صلة ببطلة القصة شيرين أو أثينا كما تحب أن تلقب. لا أحبذ الدخول في الموضوعات الغيبية ولكنني استمتعت وأنا أقرأ هذه الرواية، السلبية التي شعرت بها هي بع
Mar 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: few
Major disappointment. I've enjoyed Paulo Coelho's work before, but this is a very weak novel. I admit that I am easily creeped out by the kind of leaky spirituality that this book revolves around, but beyond that, the writing for female characters is god-awful and the mystic quest that the protagonist is on is laughable. The mystery of the compiler of all the separate accounts, once revealed, escaped being predictable by being stupid. A phoned-in, whimper of a book.
رواية جميلة .. أجمل من على نهر بييدرا هناك جلست فبكيت .. و اسوأ من الخيميائي و 11 دقيقة.
لمن قرأ روايات باولو كويلو نجد أنها كلها تتحدث عن نفس الأفكار و نفس الثيمات الدينية و العقائد الأنثوية و الإيمان بالتقمص و بالسحر و بالمعجزات الناتجة عن الجري وراء بعض القديسين.
بالنسبة لي عندما وصلت غلى نصف الرواية كنت أقول مع نفسي هاهو باولو كويلو و قد علمت ما ستؤول إليه النهاية !!!
اقرأها و لكن لا تتوقع الكثير
Bayan Al-Halabi
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
إلى ما بعد منتصفها كنت قد رأيتها الرواية الأروع لباولو، لكن الأجزاء الأخيرة كادت تقتلني ، فلولاها ولولا بعض أفكار الكاتب التي أمقتها مثل:(روح العالم، الأم الكبرى...) ناهيك عن كونها مكررة في الروايات الثلاثة الأخرى التي قرأتها له لكنت أعطيتها النجمة الخامسة.
لا بأس.. الرواية جميلة وتقدير النجمات الأربع منصف لها.
Raghda Elwakil
احببت الرواية ساحرة.. ^^

اعجبتني هالفقرة:
"الحب، يقولون لي. لكن الحب لا يجلب السعادة ولم يحلبها يوماً. فالحب، على العكس من ذلك! إنه حالة مستمرة من القلق، بل ساحة معركة، ليال هجرتها النوم، نتسائل فيها إن كان ما نفعله صواباً. الحب الحقيقي مزيج من الانتشاء والغصة."
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the type of book I recommend you read in a quiet, comfortable room with the sunlight streaming in through the windows and the whole day stretched in front of you to think.
You might ask yourself, "Shouldn't all books be read under those conditions?"
While that would be ideal, that isn't always the case. Plenty of times I'll throw a book into my bag and read while I'm waiting for various appointments or to pass the time in the minutes before I have to run off and do all kinds of stuff on a
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Tss! Wanna read? 1 22 Oct 21, 2014 05:24AM  
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Witch of Portobello - GoodReviews writing contest in March 1 98 Feb 28, 2008 08:02PM  
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The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage. In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist. Slow in ...more
“You are what you believe yourself to be.” 1795 likes
“What is a teacher? I'll tell you: it isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.” 1234 likes
More quotes…