Book review : The Spy by Paulo Coelho

The first thing I did after reading this book was to go on Wikipedia, type in Mata Hari and learn more about this exotic dancer and so called spy during world war. The book, the spy actually does that to its readers. To pique curiosity around this woman who as per the pages says to have been born in a wrong time. So this is like an apt trailer for you about the woman. Taking frameworks from her life and poking you with it. 

The Spy Official Synopsis

When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless.

Soon she was feted as the most elegant woman in the city.

A dancer who shocked and delighted audiences; a confidant and courtesan who bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.

But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. Until, in 1917 she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees and accused of espionage.

Told through Mata’s final letter, THE SPY tells the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to break the conventions of her time, and paid the price.

The Spy RWAT Take

The book is not an autobiography or biography as I anticipated but in a way it kind of acts like one. The book basically follows as a letter written by Mata Hari to her attorney before her execution and reminiscing her life and the things she saw and learnt . It is through these letters that Paulo coelho introduce us to this woman of name. 

Do I like the book ? Yes and no. It was a bitter sweet experience as I definitely loved reading and getting introduced about the woman, Mata Hari, of whom I didn’t knew much . As a reading experience it was like reading more of somebody’s journal page and having to clue in all the before and after pieces by oneself . So basically with this book, i was playing a huge jig-saw puzzle and finding piecing here and there. While I enjoyed what it had to say, I particularly didn’t enjoy how and the way it said or how much actually it gave away .

To look at a wider perspective I would say the book basically took major Popular culture facts of Mata Hari and weaved it into a full book by adding a lot of anecdotes and perspective on life and human nature to fill in the gaps. Well technically its a Paulo Coelho book, so you can’t get away without life lessons. That the whole theme and purpose of his books.


So basically the book would not educate but introduce you to the character but to me its more of a perspective views on life in general and some interesting quotes. But fact remains that the book would act as a good introduction to anybody who didn’t knew about  “the spy” plus its short and quick one to read.


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