From Kirkus Reviews

A Swiss journalist strives toredress the meaninglessness of her life with even more meaningless sexualencounters in Coelho’s latest pseudo-philosophical screed.Linda, a respected newspaperreporter in Geneva, is happily married to a handsome, wealthy and generousfinancier. The couple is blessed with beautiful and well-behaved children, atleast from what we see of the progeny, which isn’t much. The vicissitudes ofdomestic life aren’t Coelho’s concern unless they offer a pretext forplatitudes about the eternal verities and The Things That Matter. When sheinterviews Jacob, a former flame from school days who’s now a risingpolitician, Linda behaves professionally right until she administers a partingblow job. The ensuing affair jolts Linda out of the low-grade depression shehas been experiencing despite her enviable lifestyle. Her adulterous behaviordisturbs her, however, since she can’t explain her own motives. After brieflytrying therapy, she consults a Cuban shaman, to no avail (except to generate asuccessful series of in-depth features on occult healing). Her bafflement isshared by the reader, who will be puzzled by the total lack of any convincingreason why she should be so infatuated with Jacob, who, in addition to beingvery thinly portrayed, apparently can’t decide whether his amorous strategyshould be sensitive and romantic or something 50 or so shades greyer. After aclose call–Jacob’s astute spouse almost exposes her–Linda decides that thefling isn’t worth destroying lives over, as if these shallow existences wereunder any threat to begin with. Along the way to this realization, Coelho milkseach opportunity to preach–by way of endless interior monologues, quotes from Scriptureand talky scenes–sermons about love, marriage, sexual attraction, evolutionarytheory and every other imponderable he can muster. Occasional interestingtidbits about the novel’s setting, the French-speaking Swiss canton of Vaud,are not enough to redeem the pervasive mawkishness.More trite truthiness from Coelho.

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