Today I would like to talk about Paulo Coehlo’s last novel : the Spy. The novel tells the story of Mata Hari, a woman accused of spying for the Germans and so betraying her country. Coelho imagines one of the last letters that Mata Hari wrote from her prison, a week before her execution , to his lawyer and the answer of the last one.
Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, also known as Mata Hari, arrived in Paris in the early 20th century. She managed to become a famous dancer and to seduce her public, including affluent and powerful men. But admiration soon gave place to jealousy. Arrested in 1917, she is shot in the courtyard of the fortress of Vincennes at the dawn of October 15. The prosecution is simple : we think Mata Hari stood with the Germans during the First World War. However, it had appeared during her trial that she never provided the least valuable information, either to the Germans nor to the French. Then, why these accusations?
Through his novel, Paulo Coelho makes Mata’s voice heard. Page after page, we learn more and more about this woman in search of freedom. He makes us think about this improper execution. All along the book, he captures the legend and takes us into the universe of the 1900s and of the First World War. We are absorbed by Mata Hari’s destiny, an innocent woman who was shot. Perhaps she was guilty of being free, of enjoying life, money and men, of becoming one strong woman. According to Coehlo, guilty of being « one of the first feminists ».
I admit that before reading it, I didn’t know who Mata Hari was. If I bought this book, it’s only because I like the writer and the cover looked nice. And honestly, I don’t regret! Coelho’s writing makes the novel easier to read, and in the end you’re just like « wow it is sooooo fascinating! » If you’ve also never heard about Mata Hari’s story, I advice you to read the book. As a huge fan of both history and Coelho, I obviously loved this novel! It is incredibly captivating and interesting. By the way, a few movies about Mata Hari’s life also exist.
I promise it’s worth reading it!