May 8, 2009 § 46 Comments

Picture from here.

I am still trying to make sense of this book . I have read almost all of Coelho’s book till date and  this book stands out from the rest .

Cannes film festival is something we all see on T.V. , in this book Coelho has gone back stage and expains the hardships and the pusedo lives that the people live . We get a peek into lives of models , directors , actors , producers etc . The way he moves the characters makes you think they are real.

There are four central characters to this book . And as the author says in his preface , three of them get caught in the ‘trap’ . The Winner Stands Alone is candid and makes you wonder why anyone would even think of being a big ’star’ .

The reason why I am still trying to make sense of this book  is because  of the character Igor . On one hand he is portrayed as a man of principle who becomes a serial killer , in hope to winning his wife back . On the other hand he is shown as Mr. Devil through the eyes of his ex-wife .  Being the good and the bad is maybe what defines ‘normal’ , maybe . We have ‘the angle’ and ‘the devil’ in us , yet who controls the hand is the question .

The Sterotypes usually end with the bad guy being caught . Then  there are those in which  nothing about the bad guy is shown and he just escapes . The book will fall under the latter .

I loved the book , yet I hated the character Igor . Some how it seemed to represent the knife edge which lots of people sit on . Not that there is anything wrong with that , but if you are a person like me , who doesn’t believe in violence or killing others , a serial killer getting away on his private jet seems pretty hard to accept.

Of course that is the reality , the superclass get away with everything (?) . But the question which keeps popping up is , why does the book seem incomplete ? I wonder if it is just me . Or maybe reading his other books , I had a picture in my mind and this some how doesn’t fit in .

Concluding the book is good . It flows well . Another new theme explored by Coelho . And the reason why I haven’t mentioned the philosophy us because , I think , when I say it is a Coelho’s book , it is taken to be there , infact , it gels with the theme really well .

Rating – 9/10

Question which I am still thinking about – Do you think , it is right someone destorys universes /kills others just to send a message to someone ?

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§ 46 Responses to THE WINNER STANDS ALONE by PAULO COELHO(book review)

  • Smita says:

    I have not read a Paul Coelho book till date.

    From your review this looks interesting…

    As far as your question is concerned, of course it isn’t right….but there are people who have that streak in them tabhi to criminals bante hain 🙂

    Crisp nice review…might get this one…

  • I don’t like the idea of a serial killer getting away in his private jet!! Not at all.

    Answer to your question at the end – No.

    • rahul says:

      It might sound repulsive, but the facts are what they are. Why do we always wish for a fairy tale ending..
      You can also look at this as being just the beginning and not the end of the complete picture. Igor might be captured sometime in future… Its just that the author hasn’t covered that part in his story.. 🙂

    • wow…….nice thinking

  • Indyeah says:

    This sure does sound quite different than his usual books….will pick it up..though the end doesnt make me want to…
    and NO for the question..

  • Priya Joyce says:

    ur quest….I think its a big no….

    unless its all so important…nt for a single person but for a majority of it.

  • Aaarti says:

    Nice crisp review… have read a few books by Coelho, not v fond of them and kinda stopped there…

    Ans to your que- NO way….!!!

  • Ritu says:

    If the book made you think, its a winner.

    The answer to your question : No, that is not allowed, there are less messy ways to send out a message

  • Reema says:

    Like Smita, I too havent read any of his books yet! may try out this one after 9/10 rating.

  • Nita says:

    9 on 10 huh! That’s a very high reating. Coelho is good but I have not read him. Terrible huh!

  • I didn’t like his first book. Maybe I should read this one, interesting theme. That reminds me – I need to complete one more book. Hope to read more books regularly! Thanks for your encouragement by writing about some.

    Destination Infinity

  • Kulbhushan says:

    what is right and what is wrong is completely subjective and from which side you are looking at the situation.
    i’ve read the book and loved it. paulo says 3 out of 4 characters are trapped.
    the 4th character who is not trapped is Igor. if you like the concept of not being trapped in materialism of world then you have to like Igor.
    i know i would be brandished as sadistic but ‘hey ! its not me, but Paulo telling us that in his book.

    • thats exactly what I am questioning , if by killing others I will not be trapped , how is justifable , unless the others are imprisoning you? Everyone has the right to choose …

  • pramb says:

    I didn’t find Paulo’s latest book that interesting compared to his previous books. How can anyone be a serial killer just for the sake of sending text message for his ex-wife. Is that the way of showing love/care for the beloved one by taking others life? The reason is not convincing. And how any murder can escape from all those things that easily? But the subject matter is good and the research he does in the book is worthy of description.

  • LC says:

    I am reading the book and yes it seems unfair that he can get away with everything, But then a person with everything finally loses his mind. Igor is actually such a loser.

  • nidhi says:

    I have read the book and seriously I hate that charachter- Igor.
    I dont think anyone needs to ‘destroy universes’ for getting back his love.It would be insane of him to do so.

  • Roger says:

    Im halfway through reading this book..

    I thought it would be interesting to read a review on it and found your one online..

    And then you give away the ending in your review.

    Tactless and clumbsy.

    Yes, Im angry with you

  • ttgonmei says:

    i completed the book just a minute ago and was so disappointed that I wanted to express it somewhere.
    first,i am sure many best-selling authors can write about Cannes and fashion industry much better than Coelho.
    second,its not abook you want to read or gift someone for inspiration, meaningfulness – the last part of the book is nothing more than the description of a cold blooded serial killer;it talks of jack the Ripper, Charles Manson.nothing heartwarming or affirming.
    third, the ending is pathetic with the the murderer chilling off with vodka in his private jet.One page before the last is something like an affirmation of gay rights, if one may understand it that way.
    lastly,i dislike the book so much now, feeling not too bad because it was bought from the library.those who want to try out Paulo Coelho’s work should read the Alchemist and not this one else they may not like to try his other books.

  • saroj says:

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  • Bharti says:

    I’ve read many of Paulo Coelho’s books but to be honest this book’s ending is really tragic & messy………….

    The way Igor gets away with all the crimes is totally unfair.

  • jyoti says:

    we easily don’t accept the books and movies in which murderer escapes away easily because we are taught that one has to pay for bad deeds but it does not happens all the time.. liked the book because it reflects bitter reality every thing does not works according to our expectation…

  • abraham says:

    oyye… i jus finished reading the book… and i absolutely loved it, except the last page, which was more like,”WTF, is this his idea of a practical joke?”

    regarding killing for love, i felt coelho was writing a satire rather than making a case…. shud write a review of it myself

  • prashant says:

    I have not read this book yet and will read it ,when it will be avaialble in library.I am a big fan of Paulo. But unfortunately most of his later work has become monotonos. I really admire the Alchamist and devil and miss prym.

    Devil and miss prym is my best book ever because it signifies the ability of taking decisions when you are in trouble to choose fron right and wronf devil and god.It was all about the choices we make in our life.I will read this too.

  • Amit says:

    I just finished reading this book and quite impressed with the way Paulo forces their readers to feel the character’s feeling. I am impressed with the way Igor justifies all his killing and sending message to his wife.He explained the bitter truth of the pseudo life that the people live who are so called ‘Superclass’. To summarize another good work(Interesting and Entertaining) by Paulo.

  • pits says:

    I hvnt read it completly,,, but so far wht I hv read seemed pretty interesting… lets see how coelo goes ahead with his imagination.. i m still trying to find out wht cud be the value adition by reading this…or it is just a enetertaining tool….

  • Harsh says:

    I have read the book. It disappoints in the end. Not because Igore doesn’t get caught but all things seem purposeless.
    It’s not worth 9/10.
    It hardly touches the soul the way Alchemist did.

  • Sneha says:

    This book is really good. But even I agree that it ends abruptly and seems incomplete. The character Igor is beyond comprehension. But the plot is really interesting. Overall a good read..!!

  • Minakhi says:

    Hmmmm…the review itself sounds interesting……m eagerly waiting to a get a chance to peep through the book….i hope i wl enjoy reading.


  • debi says:

    well i m a gret fan of mr paulo’s quotes..the line men do not notice what a woman is wearing because they are always mentally undressing her, seems like all men in his eyes are sadomasochistic perverts..certainly i dont agree with this line from your latest offering the winner stands alone..

  • shariff says:

    not so great as earlier paulo colheo books………………………find it a bit boring………………book lags to bind the reader

  • saad alkontar says:

    I have read this book is true that the human soul inclined to violence and may lead one to commit any crime, but not to the point of murder in order to restore our beloved,
    to be touching on the book, commit crimes in order to retrieve his girlfriend or his wife, he exaggerated, but in general I read a lot of novels to paulo coelho like”brida ,the zahir,like the flowing river & the winner stands alone” and it might be in this novels something special and exciting.

  • Sunil says:

    I too bought this book because of its catchy title. But it’s a big disappointment. The story of unnecessary killing hardly made sense to me. I’ll give 2/10.

  • Kathrin says:

    I think the book has more than one messages. em. but there are some more stories behind that.

    Firstly, the insight about the superclass and how far they made it, but then there is nothing to achieve anymore and the emptyness and the lost connectivity with their own personality make them jetting from one to the other event and filling their diaries with lots of meetings just so they dont have to deal with themselves. But then the paradoxm that everyone else “normal” is admiring their lives.

    Secondly, the constant battle between good and bad and the history of serial killers who have “a higher mission” to fulfill to make the world a better place. Igor doesn´t fit in this really since he only kills to send a message to one person. He changes his motive during the book and realizes that he also has a higher mission to fulfill, although it´s not clear to me what it is. Ok, he saves the soul of his first victim preventing her of an unhappy future. But apart from that I don´t see the purpose.

    Thirdly, in the beginning of the book, Paolo is mentioning 4 main characters, who let themseles being manipulating by the system. But he only names three of them (Igor, Hamid and Gabriela). I am wondering if the fourth one is Jasmine. She is the only one who manges to escape all this before it´s too late. Jasmine – the youngest of all – is not as involved yet, she is still very pure, and decides consciously against this life and for her love before it´s too late and is therefore doing the opposite of what Igor did years ago before he destroyed his and his wife´s life.

    I agree that the book feels incomplete and is completely different from the books he usually writes.
    Also, don´t understand one of the last sentences “The winner doesn´t stand alone” and that Igor is a winner. Of course, he accomplished his mission and is free now, although he didn´t achieve his original goal to bring his wife home.

    I also would have liked to see what happened to Savoy…

  • In my own way, I resonated with some of the characters of the book. I know for a fact how messy the world of showbiz is and I’m just glad I was able to stop myself when I still can.

    I love the book! It may not be like the other Paolo Coelho books I’ve read but this one is definitely a star. 🙂

  • yashodha pathak says:

    I have read almost all books of paulo coelho. But this book gives a different taste than others. It is a nice novel

  • jenny says:

    yeah.I read the book.and I hate Igor too.sometimes he sounds so ironic!and just like you said “he gets away in a private jet’.it’s reality I think….it shows that not even the best policemen in the world cannot stand against “the superclass”.
    of course NO to your question.specially in this situation.Ewa thinks he is even more crazy because of what he is doing instead of “realizing her mistakes” as Igor wants her to.I think he is a devil

  • jenny says:

    I don’t like the fact that Jasmine’s love is a woman.anyway just my opinion.And I resonated with some of the characters of the book too.Because I am a model and i know how tricky this world is…sometimes I party and work just so I don’t have to deal with myself,with my interior voice.I am not sure I can Gabriela I want to show the others that “I can”

  • anisha garga says:

    why did u have to give away the ending in the review?

    i was only half way throu the book and now i kno the end.. 😦

    a good review thou… 🙂

  • Sapan Satia says:

    In this book, Paulo has tried to venture in all directions. Trying to give out infomation while being sarcastic, trying to dicatate morals by preaching a lot of empty words, putting up a murder mystery and defining love from the perspective of various different angles. There is a lack of central thought or strong characters based on their own values or beliefs. The story runs amuck in all directions. All in all reading this book is a waste of time, neither productive nor entertaining.

  • Shilpa Harale says:

    I hv read the Broda of Paulo, it was amesing experiance to read. I realy love it. I read thet book many day before but still i m thinking of that girl. I realy like it.

  • sarah.b says:

    I liked the title, and absolutely loved the Alchemist, which is what made me turn to this book. However Ive been really dissapointed. At first I couldnt put it down, but with one killing after another, and that they are all of the characters I liked…. !! really brought me down. I didnt like how we had to hear the story from Igor’s point of view and his perverted justifications were disturbing. Yes, it brought our different perspectives on life, but there was no clarity in the end, nor organization to the story. I really regret spending the $27 bucks that I did…. there is no way I would recommend it to a friend, nor read it again. T T

  • mona says:

    This is he first time that i’ve gone through any of paulo books.
    I found the book intresting but the ending is somehow different and doesn’t bring an excitement to the reader at all. I somewhat believed that he wants to potray the real picure of the highly sophisticated people.There are even people like Igor and the whole story is written from Igor’s point of view (a devil)
    i dont think the book deserve 9 ratings at all

  • MIRNA says:

    I have read many of his books and its not as touching as the Alchemist or Veronika decides to die or the Zahir. Iit’s a good novel because I can relate to one of the main characters and hate Igor. The ending is dissapointing. The killer gets away with murder.

  • Booklover says:


    Nice blog here. I’m borrowing this review for reposting in this new book review blog Book Reviews. If you don’t want so, do write to us and we’ll remove it

    Also look at our Facebook page too. Thanks and happy book reviews


  • priyanshi says:

    is it good for a fifteen year old to read

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