Paulo Coelho’s The Devil and Miss Prym sets up an interesting moral dilemma for readers. A stranger arrives to town. And, Berta, the towns resident wise old-woman, notices that it is the Devil in human form. The Devil goes into the town bar. He meets the protagonist Chantal Prym and befriends her. And, he proceeds to tell the townspeople that there is gold buried in town. The townspeople can have the gold if they murder someone. What follows cannot be described as anything less than an interesting social debate. Should the town believe it? Would it be such a great sin to consider it? Would the ends justify the means?
“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 on in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.”
On the whole, the theme of temptation is strongest current running through the book. And, because the town must choose who to kill, the theme of betrayal becomes the source of no small amount of remorse. Gotta say, the intrigue is intense. It was a rather nice read even though it’s on the shorter end of the scale. But, I can’t say that it completely blew my mind away. It was quaint. It would have really given me a mindgasm so-to-speak if Coelho had included a few more twists and turns. Although, it would have likely turned the book into a modern thriller.
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”
“The devil by your side is smiling because you are playing the game he invented.”
The Devil and Miss Prym is definitely for the melancholic reader. Easy reading material. It’s the type of book that readers who have been away from the hobby for a long time should choose to begin reading again. The town solidarity, the community, the subtle and sensitive themes incorporated explain why Paulo Coelho is a cultural favorite. I think it’s also a book that will trigger a lot of reflective thinking especially regarding social justice, social equity, power versus influence, and murder by negligence. Because, isn’t the weakest link just another way of viewing a part or a person that’s been neglected for too long? Either way, it seems this town desperately needed change even before the Devil came along.
Coelho, Paulo. The Devil and Miss Prym. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, January 2007.
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