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Her only crime was to be an independent woman: "I do not know if the future will remember me, but if it should, may no one ever view me as a victim but as someone who moved forward with courage and paid the price she had to pay."
On the occasion of the centenary of Mata Hari's execution for espionage in 1917, Paulo Coelho reconsiders her life and character in a fictional memoir. In a series of letters written from prison on the eve of her death, Mata Hari reflects on the choices she has made to always pursue her own truth - from her childhood in a small Dutch town to unhappy years as the wife of an alcoholic diplomat in Java to her calculated and self-fashioned rise to celebrity in Paris and across Europe as an exotic dancer and confidante to the most powerful men of the time. Though there was little evidence to incriminate her, Mata Hari was unable to escape persecution and prosecution by French military intelligence, and at the novel's end Coelho re-creates a final letter, written by Mata Hari's lawyer, Edouard Clunet, that offers a captivating view of Europe at war and the fatal price of suspicion.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Margaret on 11-25-16
Strong woman versus the patriarchy
The strong woman wins, of course, by living her life on her terms. The story is told in two voices: first the woman herself and then her male (and only) ally. I found the the woman character and her first-person narrative engaging (and a refutation to anyone who would say that a male novelist should not write as a woman). The historical setting is well rendered as a time of cataclysmic change, dangerous for everyone. Our heroine does not flinch.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Lisa on 01-25-18
Not what I thought the story would be.
the story was sad and depressing to hear about a woman having to use her body to get her freedom. But she was never free, she ended up being smited by the same men that desired her. Lets pray that this type of story will soon be historical info instead of fodder for a new screenplay.