Book Review: The Spy by Paulo Coehlo

Shreeya Agarwal

‘The Spy’ written by Paulo Coelho is about Mata Hari, a woman whose name continues to persist despite the passage of time. Mata Hari wanted to be significant to the world and she did so despite the men in those times choosing to end the life and reputation of an innocent woman, rather than allowing her to satisfy the aspirations of her soul and acknowledging her shortcomings. The author portrays love to be a powerful abstract concept which is shrouded in mystery. However, if such a mystery is disturbed, love can destroy and disappear.

Mata Hari’s life teaches us to not fear freedom. Most of us desire freedom, but continue to be fearful of it. Because humans have always been fearful of the unknown and absolute freedom of mind and soul is unknown to us. Despite being born in a time when women had no freedom and independence and were continuously oppressed by men, Mata Hari refused to accept such treatment as her fate. She defied the norms and created her own destiny.

The book teaches us that disguising one’s past would only prolong one’s woes and not relieve one from it. It is important to accept that one has been a victim of circumstance than to continue to ignore the same. The author explains through Mata Hari’s lawyer that justice is different during war and peace. It allows us to understand that suffering may cause us to not believe in love and may want us to dominate it. Love, however, cannot be dominated.



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Kirit P. Mehta School of Law Publications