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Adultery
Cover of Adultery
Adultery
A novel
Borrow Borrow
I want to change. I need to change. I'm gradually losing touch with myself.
Adultery, the provocative new novel by Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life's routine and the desire for something new.
From the Hardcover edition.
I want to change. I need to change. I'm gradually losing touch with myself.
Adultery, the provocative new novel by Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life's routine and the desire for something new.
From the Hardcover edition.
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  • From the book

    "I WAKE up and perform the usual rituals—brushing my teeth, getting dressed for work, going into the children's bedroom to wake them up, making break- fast for everyone, smiling, and saying how good life is. In every minute and gesture I feel a weight I can't identify, like an ani- mal who can't quite understand how it got caught in the trap. My food has no taste. My smile, on the other hand, grows even wider so that no one will suspect, and I swallow my desire to cry. The light outside seems gray. Yesterday's conversation did no good at all; I'm starting to think that I'm headed out of the indignant phase and straight into apathy.

    And does no one notice?

    Of course not. After all, I'm the last person in the world to admit that I need help.

    This is my problem; the volcano has exploded and there's no way to put the lava back inside, plant some trees, mow the grass, and let the sheep out to graze.

    I don't deserve this. I've always tried to meet everyone's expectations. But now it's happened and I can't do anything about it except take medication. Perhaps today I'll come up with an excuse to write an article about psychiatry and social security (the newspaper loves that kind of thing) and find a good psychiatrist to ask for help. I know that's not ethical, but then not everything is.

    I don't have an obsession to occupy my mind—for exam- ple, dieting or being OCD and finding fault with the clean- ing lady who arrives at eight in the morning and leaves at five in the afternoon, having washed and ironed the clothes, and tidied the house, and, sometimes, having even done the shopping, too. I can't vent my frustrations by trying to be Super- mom, because my children would resent me for the rest of their lives.

    I go off to work and again see the neighbor polishing his car. Wasn't he doing that yesterday?

    Unable to resist, I go over and ask him why.

    "It wasn't quite perfect," he says, but only after having said "Good morning," asking about the family, and noticing what a pretty dress I'm wearing.

    I look at the car. It's an Audi—one of Geneva's nicknames is, after all, Audiland. It looks perfect, but he shows me one or two places where it isn't as shiny as it should be.

    I draw out the conversation and end up asking what he thinks people are looking for in life.

    "Oh, that's easy enough. Being able to pay their bills. Buying a house like yours or mine. Having a garden full of trees. Having your children or grandchildren over for Sunday lunch. Traveling the world once you've retired."

    Is that what people want from life? Is it really? There's something very wrong with this world, and it isn't just the wars going on in Asia or the Middle East.

    Before I go to the newspaper, I have to interview Jacob, my ex-boyfriend from high school. Not even that cheers me up. I really am losing interest in things.

    I LISTEN to facts about government policy that I didn't even want to know. I ask a few awkward questions, which he deftly dodges. He's a year younger than me, but he looks five years older. I keep this thought to myself. Of course, it's good to see him again, although he hasn't yet asked me what's happened in my life since we each went our own way after graduation. He's entirely focused on himself, his career, and his future, while I find myself staring foolishly back at the past as if I were still the adolescent who, despite the braces on my teeth, was the envy of all the other girls. After a while, I stop listening and go on autopilot. Always the same script, the same promises- reducing taxes, combating crime, keeping the French (the so-called cross-border workers who...
About the Author-
  • Paulo Coelho is the author of many international best sellers, including The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Eleven Minutes, Aleph, and Manuscript Found in Accra. Translated into 74 languages, his books have sold more than 140 million copies in more than 170 countries. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and, in 2007, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Zoë Perry.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 30, 2014
    Coelho’s disappointing new novel suffers from its lead character’s navel-gazing. After an interview subject reveals his thoughts about living a passionate life to buttoned-up Linda, a 30-something journalist, mother, and wife to a loving, wealthy husband, she begins to believe her own life is empty. From there, she initiates an erotic affair with a high school boyfriend even after her first come-on leads him to suggest she enter marriage counseling. Her emotional nosedive includes an outrageous plan to win him over, and she ponderously dwells on John Calvin, St. Paul, King Solomon, Frankenstein, and Jekyll and Hyde. Coehlo’s best work is personal and expansive, whether it concerns a Jewish prophet in the ninth century B.C.E. (The Fifth Mountain) or a young shepherd (The Alchemist) traveling widely in pursuit of treasure. Unfortunately, this novel’s constrained Geneva setting lacks expansiveness, and what is personal quickly becomes plodding. For most of the story, Coelho abandons his beautifully spare, evocative prose in favor of overwrought sentences, returning to form only as the story nears its end.

  • The Chicago Tribune "Propulsive.... A compelling tale of existential angst, marital betrayal and sexual sin."
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Adultery
Adultery
A novel
Paulo Coelho
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