Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Author: Paulo Coelho

How much is the theme of your novel “Devil and Miss Prym” inspired by the modern problem of terrorism in the world?

The novel was written before 9-11 attacks. I was in Munich, in a signing session, when these events happened. For my surprise, not only the theme was in the book, under a metaphoric guideline, but also the answer to the attack was the same as in the book: instead of seeking for justice, it seems that the Western world decided for revenge – that, as we all know, leads to nowhere. The “Devil and Miss Prym” concludes the trilogy “And on the Seventh Day”. The first two books were: “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” (1994) and “Veronika Decides to Die” (1998). Each of the three books is concerned with a week in the life of ordinary people, all of whom find themselves suddenly confronted by love, death and power. I have always believed that in the lives of individuals, just as in society at large, the profoundest changes take place within a very reduced time frame. 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 or in saying that we are not yet ready.

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