ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist and a renowned author. He had a spiritual awakening in Spain, at the age of 38. The Pilgrimage was his first book. However, it was only his second book, The Alchemist, that made him a household name across the globe. His books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. They have been translated into 68 languages and published in over 150 countries.
People are never satisfied. If they have little, they want more. If they have a lot, they want still more.
Paulo Coelho takes the readers through the behind-the-scenes action of the famed Cannes Film Festival and explores the lifestyle and frivolity of the Superclass. The protagonist of the story is Igor, who is a war veteran from Russia. The story describes his obsession with his wife and how he kills people in cold blood to get her back.
The plot revolves around Igor, an affluent businessman from Russia, Ewa or Katyusha, Igor’s ex-wife and a flourishing designer, Hamid Hussain, a self-made fashion designer from the Middle East, Gabriela, a struggling actor from the United States, and Jasmine, an African model on the verge of signing a very lucrative contract. The author describes their inner struggles and interaction with each other during a 24-hour period, set in the backdrop of the Cannes Film Festival. The ensuing drama and tension between these characters are what make the novel an engrossing read.
Transformations always occur during moments of crisis.
Each character experiences their own personal crisis and creates their own plotting strategies to scale the summit of fame. The author brings about an engaging contrast between people on either side of the spectrum. On the one hand are normal people, who would give anything to achieve fame and fortune. And, on the other hand are affluent people, who have everything one could wish for, fervently craving for some semblance of normalcy in their lives.
The author takes us to Cannes with his characteristically vivid description of its scenery, locations and parties. The characters are well-researched and relatable; we can effortlessly identify with the struggling actress Gabriela, who believes that she needs and deserves one chance to prove her talent. Same is the case with Ewa, who despises her psychopath husband and leaves him for another man. Both these characters comes across as real and touching.
Furthermore, Igor’s depiction as a self-righteous man, guided by a dark angel, makes him a gripping character. That being said, the climax seems hurried. It doesn’t really make sense how a serial killer can be a winner after having slain four innocent people.
The Winner Stands Alone merits a 3-star rating from Ameya. This novel falls way short of the lofty standards Coelho has set for himself over the years. However, its action-packed plot may interest thriller buffs. Unlike Coelho’s other novels, this novel is quite easy to read due to its simple language. That said, you’d be better off skipping this one if you are anticipating an experience like the one you were treated to in The Alchemist or Eleven Minutes.
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