Brida was originally published in the Portuguese language, right after The Alchemist. It has been recently translated into English. For those who might not be aware, Brida has already been adapted to the silver screen with a Portuguese movie released in 1998 with the same title.
Since Brida was written nearly a decade ago, it’s surprising that in its English version, the novel sounds like an apt sequel of The Witch of Portobello. I incidentally finished reading the Witch of Portobello before I started reading Brida. And then I realized, that Brida answers more questions about Wicca, wizardry and witches, and Soulmates than the Witch of Portobello.
In The Witch of Portobello, the author talks about the concept of Love, and sacrificing all for Love, but in Brida he scientifically explains the concepts of Soulmates, and why most people have to undergo so many stages in life, and many trials and tribulations in identifying one’s Soulmates. And yet, (in what seemed like a classic Bollywood script to me) Coelho shows that finding your Soulmate is not the license to perfect love and cherished togetherness.
Brida is a characteristic Paulo Coelho novel with lots of food for thought, and clever one liners. I am marking a few here, but there are many more to be enlisted:
- “The Devil is in the detail!”
- “God is the word. Always be careful what you say in any situation and at any moment.”
- “Whenever you have to find about something, Plunge right in! (very Alchemist-like)”
- “Look at the world around you and try to see and understand as much as you can.”
- “Miracles couldn’t be explained either, but they existed for those who believed in them.”
- “None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, and yet still we go forwards. Because we trust. Because we have Faith. That every moment in life is an act of faith.”
- “The path of wisdom means not being afraid to make mistakes.”
- “By risking failure, disappointment, disillusion, but never ceasing in your search for Love. As long as you keep looking, you will triumph in the end.”
- “The path of the life is and always will be path of Mystery. Learning something means coming into contact with a world of which you know nothing. In order to learn, you must be humble.”
- “The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world. And the closer you will be to your Soulmate.”
- “The whole of man’s life on the face of Earth can be summed up by that search for his Soulmate. He may pretend to be running after wisdom, money or power, but none of that matters. Whatever he achieves will be incomplete if he fails to find his Soulmate.”
- “Live everything as intensely as you can and keep whatever you felt as a gift from God.”
- “Finding one important thing in your life doesn’t mean you have to give up all the other important things.”
- “Life is about making mistakes. Never be afraid of making mistake.”
Interestingly, Coelho has spoken highly in terms of Catholicism and also tried to show a parallel between the concepts of Virgin Mary, the Supreme Sacrifice of Jesus, and the actual trysts of a common man and the daily quest and sacrifice in life. He has also touched on scientific explanations of the origin of the Universe, of the concept of Soulmates, past life regression, the importance of rituals, tarot-reading, dream interpretation, the concept of trance and ecstasy, and even highlighted herbal medication (Ayurveda) and some form of Tantric Sex, where the senses are alive, as the mind reaches ecstatic levels.
Like most Paulo Coehlo writings, Brida is packed with words of New Age wisdom, inspiring energy and is a quick read, and can be a prized possession by Paulo Coehlo’s fan. Coehlo is definitely back after his misadventure in the Zahir, and is creating strong impressive female protagonists.
An excerpt from a review of the book on LiveMint.com sums it all up, “The novel follows the journey of 21-year old girl, Brida who was a “witch” or an enlightened woman in her past reincarnations and had forgotten the same through various births. However, the attraction to occult and magic lingered in her memory and made her seek teachers and knowledge that would guide her on this path. As she embarks on her journey, she rediscovers her gift through the teachings of a wise man and a tarot card reader who is herself a witch. This woman teaches her to dance to the hidden music of the world and connect with her soul through her own voyage of discovery.“