Posted by: istop4books | August 2, 2009

The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation by Paolo Coelho

The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation by Paulo Coelho

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“About the human nature of human beings, I discovered that confronted with temptation, we will always fall. Given the right circumstances, every human being on earth would be willing to commit evil.”
A stranger walks into a small, passive, some would say boring, town and makes a very indecent proposal to a young waitress, trapped in a dead-end job. His proposal is that she commit an act of extreme evil, or that she precipitate it, in order to obtain gains for herself and the community.
Summed up – this is the premise of this book. Would basically good people commit an act of extreme evil given the right circumstances? Why or why not? What would impede them? Are people good through and through, or intrinsically evil?

This is a fable, it reminded me of a beautiful illustrated book of Aesop’s Fables which I got as a little girl for Christmas – the story is longer, but it’s still a fable. I don’t think it was meant to be taken as a “story” but as a character study, an analysis of human behavior. As a story it falls way short – the ending is clear by the middle of the book, it’s how the ending unfolds and why it unfolds that makes the reader think deeply about human decency and what we are capable of.

“Ahab really understood human nature: it isn’t the desire to abide by the law that makes everyone behave as society requires, but the fear of punishment. Each one of us carries a gallows inside us.”

Is that true? Do we fear eternal damnation to the extent that it’s the only way we bahave? Do we not speed because of the fear of getting a ticket, or because speeding is wrong? More food for thought.

Can we evolve? Can we recognize first, and then conquer our human frailties? I think this is what is addressed in this narrative.

View all my reviews >>

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: