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A stranger arrives at the remote village of Viscos, carrying with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars. He comes searching for the answer to a question that torments him: Are human beings, in essence, good or evil? In welcoming the mysterious foreigner, the whole village becomes an accomplice to his sophisticated plot, which will forever mark their lives.

A novel of temptation by the internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym is a thought-provoking parable of a community devoured by greed, cowardice, and fear—as it struggles with the choice between good and evil.

Topics: Spirituality , Magic, Ethics, Inspirational, Psychological, Philosophical, Translated, Magical Realism, and Allegory

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061844867
List price: $10.99
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Reminds me of a modern day Nathaniel Hawthorne, with its superstitions, devil incarnate infiltrating a village where some of the main characters are the priest, the mayor, the hotel lady and the landowner -- very ubiquitos titles. Rather explicit, at times, in its discussion of good and evil, and seems to work off some different concepts of God and origins of evil than I have. Interesting nonetheless.more
A good book about the ongoing fight in people's minds to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing.more
Coelho is a teller of parables and fables. Sometimes the weave of tales crafts story and character gracefully leading you into an illuminated journey and other times the illuminated journey is like a car attendant with a big flashlight at a country fair leaving little character and story development with the feeling of being rushed. Either way there's illumination, but everybody prefers the slow sunrise. This one is a tale of temptation and unfortunately falls into the second category, but it is still worth the read.more
Most people either love Paulo Coelho’s writing or absolutely hate it. I haven’t seen many who have straddled the fence on this author. I’m in the former category, though I know quite a few people who don’t care for him at all. While some believe his writing is too simplistic, I, on the other hand, sometimes crave simplicity! I do quite a bit of heavy reading (though not recently), and it’s nice sometimes to curl up with one of Coelho’s books and know that I will probably read it in one sitting. I also believe his ’simple’ books have a much deeper meaning to them, and this story is also indicative of that.One day a stranger comes to Viscos, an idyllic mountain town. The stranger has a plan to tempt the villagers with some gold. They only have to do one thing to get the gold, but that act is contrary to the basic character of the town’s residents. There hasn’t been any trouble in the village for years, and when Miss Prym, the local barmaid, is told of the plan, she is confident the villagers will be able to withstand the temptation.The story raises the question of whether humans are generally good or generally evil, and also why God, if there is one, would allow evil things to happen to good people.Highly recommended.2000, 205 pp.more
A thought provoking book on the concept of Good vs Evil in the human soul. Coehlo writes a simple but powerful message in an easily accessible style and provides the readers with a glimpse of the human paradox that is the capacity to contain both dark & light in the same soul. Coehlo extends this exploration into the similarities between the collective & individual soul, and the need for the individual to rise above the evil of the collective. The story is translated so one is never sure what has been “lost in translation,” but there are sufficient pearls of wisdom scattered throughout the story to keep one thinking while enjoying an easy, quick read. My favourite comes when the sweet Miss Prym has to make her critical choice: “There are only two things which prevent us from achieving our dreams: Believing them to be impossible, and seeing these dreams made possible by some unexpected turn of Fate. For at that precise moment all our fears surface: the fear of setting off along an unknown road; the fear of a life full of new challenges and the fear of losing everything that is familiar.” (Pg 34)The morality of the story is perhaps too explicit, but can be excused because it’s presented so simply that one can take it or leave it, depending on one’s personal response to the issue being examined.more
Another captivating book by Coelho. This one deals with the concept of greed and the battle between good and evil. I found the story to be very good at grabbing the reader and keeping him interested. There were several spiritual questions to ponder as well as insightful, thought-provoking moments in the book that made me stop and think about my own faith. Very good book.more
Its my first Paul Coelho, and i really liked it. Its not your usual morality books, but the way Paul handles the characters and weaves the story - is interesting.more
Great story. I really enjoy Paulo Coelho's books as he always has a life lesson to be uncovered, very zen like.more
Again good and bad ideas are fighting with each others. In this book is again a witch, or belived to be witch like so many other Coelho´s books. Miss Prym goes to a situation which she coudn´t belive to happen to her. She have to decide on behalf of the whole community what to do. And she ended on good decidion .....Easy to read, this book didn´t give me much to think. I read it because I want to see how Coelho writes. I´ve read severala of his books. This is quite good, definitely not his best. You have to read it to get your own oppinion.more
As a fan of Veronika Decides To Die, I expected to enjoy this book much more than I did. This time around, the story was flat, while the morality was laid on thick as molasses. The Devil And Miss Prym has put me off Mr. Coelho, probably for good.more
I picked up this book from the library after finishing Eleven Minutes. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed reading The Devil and Miss Prym. Like most of Paul Coelho's books I found this book a very easy read. I enjoy the lightness of touch that Paul Coehlo uses in most of his books. And like his other book, The Devil and Miss Prym stayed on my mind after I finished it, giving me food for thought.more
A stranger walks into an isolated village and offers unimaginable wealth to the villagers if someone is found murdered by the end of the week. What a great premise for a story! It’s sad that such an interesting idea came to such a lackluster end.I suppose what bothered me the most is Coelho’s belief that humans have the unfettered ability to choose good over evil. (It doesn’t help that I’ve been reading Calvin’s Institutes concurrently!) Here’s the grand moral of the fable in Coelho’s words:"The stranger did not need Chantal to explain the story. Savin and Ahab had the same instincts–Good and Evil struggled in both of them, just as they did in every soul on the face of the earth. When Ahab realized that Savin was the same as he, he realized too that he was the same as Savin.It was all a matter of control. And choice.Nothing more and nothing less."As a Christian, this sweet idealism bothers me. We humans are not free to choose between good and evil on our own. Apart from Jesus, we choose evil every single time! (Of course, it may not appear to be evil.) Morality is not just a matter of our control and choice. It’s a matter of handing control over to the Son of God who sets us free from our enslavement to evil so we have the ability to make an authentic choice.Perhaps it’s my ideology that made this book so frustrating. It functions well as a nice morality fable. If you’re interested in real wisdom, though, search elsewhere.more
This was an amazing book. I typically don't read this style of book but after reading The Alchemist I had to read another of Paulo Coelho books. This was not a let down. I liked this book even more than The Alchemist. For a shorter novel the author really does a great job of conveying his message as well as showing many sides of the struggle. I have already bought more of his books to read.more
I really like the simplicity of his books, although they all have exceptional messages. This one will really stay with me and it's definitely something you need to chew on mentally for a while, just what would you do if you were in the same situation as Miss Prym? I'm trying not to give too much away , this was a quick read and I liked it, and it did end well. I couldn't help but feel I might have done something else but really what to make sure everything came out alright ( Like kick the stranger out of the village or take one of the bars as a stupid tax for being such an A$$, but in the end it would not have worked out right). Recommendation- it's good read it.more
This novel reminded me of the allegorical style of Pilgrim's Progress and Magical Realism (I think that's what it is called) of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. There are only 2 characters with actual names, all the others are referred to as the Stranger, Landowner, Mayor, Priest etc. It is a fight between good and evil, angels and devils, god and satan set in a small South American village that is ripe with its own myths and history. It was a quick read. Pretty enjoyable with some good imagery, but I'm a little surprised it was on the 1001 list. One day I hope to be fluent enough in Spanish to read books like this. I have a feeling a lot gets lost in translationmore
A simple fable, with a simple theme, but the impact is anything but simple. The climax may have felt predicable in theory, but the telling of the scene was visceral. "A novel of temptation" is the tag line, but by the end I found nothing tempting, it was simply greed and I understood why. The telling made it personal, and I found myself linking the moments of temptation to my own life and examine those choices more carefully. I have already started "Veronika Decides to Die" and I can't wait to start another of Mr. Coelho's books.more
In this novel, Coelho tries to explain good and evil, their many faces and manifestations. While this is a fascinating debate and while the author relates some good stories within the plot, his very complicated and far-fetched scenario involving devils and angels, one-dimensional characters and simplistic emotional quandaries is extremely trite and flat. Surely there more creative ways to deal with these moral concepts.more
A stranger arrives in a small town in the middle of nowhere, carrying a bag of gold bars. He's struggling with his own personal devil, and wants to know if there is good in the world, of if all people are evil. To find out, he makes a deal with the townspeople - if they murder one of their townsfolk, he will give them the gold. If they accept his offer, he will have his answer - that all men are evil - and if they don't, he will know that people are capable of good.I was intrigued more by the style of Coelho's writing, and what went into it, than the story itself. Philosophical dilemmas are very difficult to resolve in a book, and I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by the ending, but otherwise there's a lot that should provoke thought in the reader. The good vs. evil debate is well presented, and the story is so full of parables, metaphors and allegories that I have enough to chew over for the next couple of weeks at least.more
Another odd story from Coelho, the plot as impenetrable as ever, I’m not that keen on his writing style either which is odd as I usually like sparse writing.more
I really enjoyed this book. It offers a lot of food for thought. It was a quick and easy read, once started it was hard to put down and kept me thinking about it afterwards.more
I didn't get very much out of this book.more
Mostly this book is a discussion about whether people are inherently good or evil, but I like what it has to say about change. How sometimes people, when given a chance to do something they've always dreamed of, freeze with fear of change.more
devil......hmore
A great book on human nature, crowd mentality. The line I liked the most was that Good and Evil have the same face, it all depends on when they cross the path of each individual human being.
more
Read all 29 reviews

Reviews

Reminds me of a modern day Nathaniel Hawthorne, with its superstitions, devil incarnate infiltrating a village where some of the main characters are the priest, the mayor, the hotel lady and the landowner -- very ubiquitos titles. Rather explicit, at times, in its discussion of good and evil, and seems to work off some different concepts of God and origins of evil than I have. Interesting nonetheless.more
A good book about the ongoing fight in people's minds to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing.more
Coelho is a teller of parables and fables. Sometimes the weave of tales crafts story and character gracefully leading you into an illuminated journey and other times the illuminated journey is like a car attendant with a big flashlight at a country fair leaving little character and story development with the feeling of being rushed. Either way there's illumination, but everybody prefers the slow sunrise. This one is a tale of temptation and unfortunately falls into the second category, but it is still worth the read.more
Most people either love Paulo Coelho’s writing or absolutely hate it. I haven’t seen many who have straddled the fence on this author. I’m in the former category, though I know quite a few people who don’t care for him at all. While some believe his writing is too simplistic, I, on the other hand, sometimes crave simplicity! I do quite a bit of heavy reading (though not recently), and it’s nice sometimes to curl up with one of Coelho’s books and know that I will probably read it in one sitting. I also believe his ’simple’ books have a much deeper meaning to them, and this story is also indicative of that.One day a stranger comes to Viscos, an idyllic mountain town. The stranger has a plan to tempt the villagers with some gold. They only have to do one thing to get the gold, but that act is contrary to the basic character of the town’s residents. There hasn’t been any trouble in the village for years, and when Miss Prym, the local barmaid, is told of the plan, she is confident the villagers will be able to withstand the temptation.The story raises the question of whether humans are generally good or generally evil, and also why God, if there is one, would allow evil things to happen to good people.Highly recommended.2000, 205 pp.more
A thought provoking book on the concept of Good vs Evil in the human soul. Coehlo writes a simple but powerful message in an easily accessible style and provides the readers with a glimpse of the human paradox that is the capacity to contain both dark & light in the same soul. Coehlo extends this exploration into the similarities between the collective & individual soul, and the need for the individual to rise above the evil of the collective. The story is translated so one is never sure what has been “lost in translation,” but there are sufficient pearls of wisdom scattered throughout the story to keep one thinking while enjoying an easy, quick read. My favourite comes when the sweet Miss Prym has to make her critical choice: “There are only two things which prevent us from achieving our dreams: Believing them to be impossible, and seeing these dreams made possible by some unexpected turn of Fate. For at that precise moment all our fears surface: the fear of setting off along an unknown road; the fear of a life full of new challenges and the fear of losing everything that is familiar.” (Pg 34)The morality of the story is perhaps too explicit, but can be excused because it’s presented so simply that one can take it or leave it, depending on one’s personal response to the issue being examined.more
Another captivating book by Coelho. This one deals with the concept of greed and the battle between good and evil. I found the story to be very good at grabbing the reader and keeping him interested. There were several spiritual questions to ponder as well as insightful, thought-provoking moments in the book that made me stop and think about my own faith. Very good book.more
Its my first Paul Coelho, and i really liked it. Its not your usual morality books, but the way Paul handles the characters and weaves the story - is interesting.more
Great story. I really enjoy Paulo Coelho's books as he always has a life lesson to be uncovered, very zen like.more
Again good and bad ideas are fighting with each others. In this book is again a witch, or belived to be witch like so many other Coelho´s books. Miss Prym goes to a situation which she coudn´t belive to happen to her. She have to decide on behalf of the whole community what to do. And she ended on good decidion .....Easy to read, this book didn´t give me much to think. I read it because I want to see how Coelho writes. I´ve read severala of his books. This is quite good, definitely not his best. You have to read it to get your own oppinion.more
As a fan of Veronika Decides To Die, I expected to enjoy this book much more than I did. This time around, the story was flat, while the morality was laid on thick as molasses. The Devil And Miss Prym has put me off Mr. Coelho, probably for good.more
I picked up this book from the library after finishing Eleven Minutes. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed reading The Devil and Miss Prym. Like most of Paul Coelho's books I found this book a very easy read. I enjoy the lightness of touch that Paul Coehlo uses in most of his books. And like his other book, The Devil and Miss Prym stayed on my mind after I finished it, giving me food for thought.more
A stranger walks into an isolated village and offers unimaginable wealth to the villagers if someone is found murdered by the end of the week. What a great premise for a story! It’s sad that such an interesting idea came to such a lackluster end.I suppose what bothered me the most is Coelho’s belief that humans have the unfettered ability to choose good over evil. (It doesn’t help that I’ve been reading Calvin’s Institutes concurrently!) Here’s the grand moral of the fable in Coelho’s words:"The stranger did not need Chantal to explain the story. Savin and Ahab had the same instincts–Good and Evil struggled in both of them, just as they did in every soul on the face of the earth. When Ahab realized that Savin was the same as he, he realized too that he was the same as Savin.It was all a matter of control. And choice.Nothing more and nothing less."As a Christian, this sweet idealism bothers me. We humans are not free to choose between good and evil on our own. Apart from Jesus, we choose evil every single time! (Of course, it may not appear to be evil.) Morality is not just a matter of our control and choice. It’s a matter of handing control over to the Son of God who sets us free from our enslavement to evil so we have the ability to make an authentic choice.Perhaps it’s my ideology that made this book so frustrating. It functions well as a nice morality fable. If you’re interested in real wisdom, though, search elsewhere.more
This was an amazing book. I typically don't read this style of book but after reading The Alchemist I had to read another of Paulo Coelho books. This was not a let down. I liked this book even more than The Alchemist. For a shorter novel the author really does a great job of conveying his message as well as showing many sides of the struggle. I have already bought more of his books to read.more
I really like the simplicity of his books, although they all have exceptional messages. This one will really stay with me and it's definitely something you need to chew on mentally for a while, just what would you do if you were in the same situation as Miss Prym? I'm trying not to give too much away , this was a quick read and I liked it, and it did end well. I couldn't help but feel I might have done something else but really what to make sure everything came out alright ( Like kick the stranger out of the village or take one of the bars as a stupid tax for being such an A$$, but in the end it would not have worked out right). Recommendation- it's good read it.more
This novel reminded me of the allegorical style of Pilgrim's Progress and Magical Realism (I think that's what it is called) of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. There are only 2 characters with actual names, all the others are referred to as the Stranger, Landowner, Mayor, Priest etc. It is a fight between good and evil, angels and devils, god and satan set in a small South American village that is ripe with its own myths and history. It was a quick read. Pretty enjoyable with some good imagery, but I'm a little surprised it was on the 1001 list. One day I hope to be fluent enough in Spanish to read books like this. I have a feeling a lot gets lost in translationmore
A simple fable, with a simple theme, but the impact is anything but simple. The climax may have felt predicable in theory, but the telling of the scene was visceral. "A novel of temptation" is the tag line, but by the end I found nothing tempting, it was simply greed and I understood why. The telling made it personal, and I found myself linking the moments of temptation to my own life and examine those choices more carefully. I have already started "Veronika Decides to Die" and I can't wait to start another of Mr. Coelho's books.more
In this novel, Coelho tries to explain good and evil, their many faces and manifestations. While this is a fascinating debate and while the author relates some good stories within the plot, his very complicated and far-fetched scenario involving devils and angels, one-dimensional characters and simplistic emotional quandaries is extremely trite and flat. Surely there more creative ways to deal with these moral concepts.more
A stranger arrives in a small town in the middle of nowhere, carrying a bag of gold bars. He's struggling with his own personal devil, and wants to know if there is good in the world, of if all people are evil. To find out, he makes a deal with the townspeople - if they murder one of their townsfolk, he will give them the gold. If they accept his offer, he will have his answer - that all men are evil - and if they don't, he will know that people are capable of good.I was intrigued more by the style of Coelho's writing, and what went into it, than the story itself. Philosophical dilemmas are very difficult to resolve in a book, and I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by the ending, but otherwise there's a lot that should provoke thought in the reader. The good vs. evil debate is well presented, and the story is so full of parables, metaphors and allegories that I have enough to chew over for the next couple of weeks at least.more
Another odd story from Coelho, the plot as impenetrable as ever, I’m not that keen on his writing style either which is odd as I usually like sparse writing.more
I really enjoyed this book. It offers a lot of food for thought. It was a quick and easy read, once started it was hard to put down and kept me thinking about it afterwards.more
I didn't get very much out of this book.more
Mostly this book is a discussion about whether people are inherently good or evil, but I like what it has to say about change. How sometimes people, when given a chance to do something they've always dreamed of, freeze with fear of change.more
devil......hmore
A great book on human nature, crowd mentality. The line I liked the most was that Good and Evil have the same face, it all depends on when they cross the path of each individual human being.
more
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