Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Author: Paulo Coelho

Could you tell me a little bit about your latest novel The Witch of Portobello?
In my latest book, The Witch of Portobello I wanted to explore the prejudices that we have when we go for a spiritual quest.
I was reading Karen Armstrong’s book on the Prophet ( Muhammad, Harper Collins), and there is a part that she mentions: ” each recitation began with the invocation: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate (Al-Rahman), and the Merciful (Al-Rahim)…the divine names Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim are not only grammatically feminine, but related etymologically to the word for womb.”
I am not an expert in Arabic etimology, but I believe that Mrs. Armstrong is. My new book explores this Compassion and this Mercy, as I see from my perspective. I felt the need to question why society had tried to lock away the feminine side. The character of Athena, with her freedom and courage, was my way to tackle this subject and to unveil the shackles of dogma.

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