Paulo Coelho‘s The Alchemist book is one of those books that I categorize as having a rabid, zealous following…much like Ayn Rand’s books, and to some extent The Catcher in the Rye…books that some people claim they love or were life-changing. I read The Alchemist years ago hoping that it would be a book that I loved. I enjoyed it but angels didn’t sing and fireworks didn’t go off while I read it. It was okay but not the best book ever (in my opinion).
A couple of years ago I read Coelho’s Veronika Decides to Die and ended up really liking it. It made me decide that I really should read more of Coelho’s books…so I took The Devil and Miss Prym out from the library and set off. I picked this particular book because it is also on the list of 1001 books to read before you die.
Once again, Coelho has written a fable. This one is set in a remote mountain village. A stranger shows up in the village one day and talks with Miss Prym, a villager who works at the local inn and bar. The stranger show Miss Prym a fortune in gold and tells her that if the villagers kill one of their own, they can have all of the gold. The stranger is trying to find out if people are at their core good or evil.
So how did I feel about The Devil and Miss Prym? Once again, this was a book that fell into the “it was okay” camp. I didn’t love it. It felt a little flat to me. The characters were one-dimensional and not very believable. Nevermind that none of the characters were likeable in any way. Deep down I didn’t care what decision they made or what happened to them. The book was loaded with parables but the main story line was lackluster and did little to pull me in. It would have been better if it was edited to be at least 100 pages shorter. In a nutshell: this book was just ‘meh’ to me. I will cling fondly to my memories of “Veronika Decides to Die”: my past and still current favorite Coelho book.