Coelho, Paulo "Brida" (Portuguese: Brida) - 1990
After reading "The Alchemist", I had to read another Coelho. Would it have been the same if I had started with this one. Certainly not. Even though the subject is somewhat related, I couldn't link with the characters. A young girl who wants to become a witch or a magician and is willing to give up the love of her life for that.
Even though this is also a quest for the meaning of life, it didn't speak to me the same way. There must be a reason it took 18 years that this book was translated into English (although, having said that, it usually takes a little longer for foreign books to be translated into English but Paulo Coelho is an internationally highly acclaimed author).
Maybe it is not fair to compare this to a masterpiece as "The Alchemist" but it's difficult not to do that. If it had been written by another author and my expectations hadn't been that high, I might actually have loved this book.
From the back cover:
"This is the story of Brida, a young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. She has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom, who begin to teach Brida about the spiritual world. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her about overcoming her fears and trusting in the goodness of the world; and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world, and how to pray to the moon. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch. This enthralling novel incorporates themes that fans of Paulo Coelho will recognize and treasure - it is a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from the master storyteller. "