- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne (April 7 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061750441
- ISBN-13: 978-0061750441
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #981,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Winner Stands Alone: A Novel Hardcover – Apr 7 2009
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“[This] Brazilian wizard makes books disappear from stores.” (New York Times)
“[Coelho’s] special talent seems to be his ability to speak to everyone at once. The kind of spirituality he espouses is to all comers. . . . His readers often say that they see their own lives in his own books.” (The New Yorker)
“[Coelho’s] special talent seems to be his ability to speak to everyone at once. . . . His readers often say that they see their own lives in his own books.” (The New Yorker)
From the Back Cover
The beloved, bestselling international author of The Alchemist returns with another haunting novel—a thrilling journey into our constant fascination with the worlds of fame, fortune, and celebrity.
A profound meditation on personal power and innocent dreams that are manipulated or undone by success, The Winner Stands Alone is set in the exciting worlds of fashion and cinema. Taking place over the course of twenty-four hours during the Cannes Film Festival, it is the story of Igor, a successful, driven Russian entrepreneur who will go to the darkest lengths to reclaim a lost love—his ex-wife, Ewa. Believing that his life with Ewa was divinely ordained, Igor once told her that he would destroy whole worlds to get her back. The conflict between an individual evil force and society emerges, and as the novel unfolds, morality is derailed.
Meet the players and poseurs behind the scenes at Cannes—the "Superclass" of producers, actors, designers, and supermodels, as well as the aspiring starlets, has-been stars, and jaded hangers-on. Adroitly interweaving the characters' stories, Paulo Coelho uses his twelfth novel to paint an engrossing picture of a world overrun by glamour and excess, and shows us the possibly dire consequences of our obsession with fame.See all Product description
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Igor, successful, driven Russian entrepreneur in the Telecom industry, is a dark, interesting character. The author is doing a good job in balancing his craziness with his sanity up to some point. The crescendo of Igor’s madness is swallowed though into the abyss of the masses, a much greater, way more dangerous insanity, pulsating, threatening to gulp everyone and everything: even the detectives are chasing fame, happy to have bait that would potentially propel their career or maintain their already gained illustrious reputation.
Igor, no matter how unbalanced, lunatic who murders easily in broad daylight, initially in order to reclaim his ex-wife, Ewa, is onto something far bigger when he pictures a future Cannes with so much more increased security, where celebrities will have no choice but to subdue to the ridiculous time wasting and nerves wracking demands of safety rules, and will eventually renounce coming to Cannes altogether.
The world of fashion, movie makers, glamor and richness is shown in its voracious light, where bodies and dreams altogether are stepped over and muddied without remorse, where the wheel is turning, the weak pay, the rich get richer and bones are occasionally thrown to the little dogs, an earlier version of an apocalyptic ‘Hunger Games’ if you will.
For more enticing reviews go to allwords.ca
Comments: I'll start off by saying this is a difficult book to summarize as there are many different layers a reviewer may want to concentrate on. On the surface the plot concerns Igor,a wealthy Russian man, who is obsessed with his ex-wife; it is actually this obsession along with other things that drove her to run off with another man. He promised her once that if she ever left him he would "destroy worlds" to get her back. Now two years later, he follows her and her new husband to the Cannes Festival and starts to randomly serial kill for her sending her text messages that he has "destroyed another world" for her each time. The book also then, is set in the glamorous world of over excess inhabited by the rich, famous, celebrity, hangers-on and wannabes. It is this world that is examined ,through the characters, that show how vapid and meaningless, on the inside, is this life of grandiose over indulgences on the outside.
The narrative is often from the point of view of Igor but alternates with other characters who have been affected in some form whether small or dramatically by his actions of murder. We follow the lives of actresses trying to make it, models, street jewelry sellers, actors, directors, producers, models, haute couteur designers, Igor's ex wife, people related to the deceased and those who have not yet been affected but will soon be.
The writing is absolutely beautiful. Descriptions and details are a joy to read, the characters are deep and multi-layered, even those of minor importance. Not having read any other Coelho, I can't compare this to his other work but from plot descriptions I feel this may be somewhat a different kind of story than what he usually tells. I was amazed by the religiousness of the writing. I had no idea. It was beautiful. Coelho writes of a world where it is simply assumed God exists and his characters are naturally Believers. I have a slew of quotes from this book that hit me hard and made me think. If Paulo Coelho's other books are also like this I most certainly will be reading them in the future. I leave this review with such a quote:
"Someone's spirit, however, has no name; it is pure truth and inhabits a particular body for a certain period of time, and will, one day, leave it, and God won't bother asking, "What's your name?" when the soul arrives at the final judgement. God will only ask: "Did you love while you were alive?" For that is the essence of life: the ability to love, not the name we carry around on our passport, business card, and identity card. The great mystics changed their names, and sometimes abandoned them altogether. When John the Baptist was asked who he was, he said only, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." When Jesus found the man on whom he would build his church, he ignored the fact that the man in question has spent his entire life answering to the name of Simon and called him Peter. When Moses asked God his name, back came the reply: "I am who I am.""