the winner stands alone

BOOK REVIEW: The Winner Stands Alone By Paulo Coelho

Genre: Fiction

Buy: Amazon

“One man’s food is another man’s poison” so the saying goes.I admit before getting my copy of ‘The Winner Stands Alone’ I scanned a couple of reviews. Out of curiosity, of course!

And it did kill the cat (read: my enthusiasm to read the book).I have been thinking about getting ‘The Winner Stands Alone’ ever since finding out about the book.

But bought my copy only when it’s chosen as ‘this month’s book’ at the virtual book club I have joined on Google Plus.Since most of the reviews I read showered nasty remarks on the book, I felt like not reading the book (ever).

All of a sudden I didn’t have the option to not reading it.After all I suggested the book for the reading; at least I needed to read it to start a discussion.

‘The Winner Stands Alone By Paulo Coelho’ ~~ Synopsis: 

The author warns at the beginning that the story isn’t about ‘following your dreams and getting them.’

This time, it’s about understanding that ‘nothing is for free in this world, not even dreams.’

You want your dreams to come to life then be ready to pay the price; in case, the universe decides to grant your wish.

Let’s start….

‘The Winner Stands Alone’ is a story of Russian telecom billionaire Igor Malev. He’s obsessively in love with his ex-wife Ewa and wants her back in his life.

Igor’s ready to do whatever (read: killing innocent people) it takes to get her back in his life.

Igor believes his love for his ex-wife is superior to everything on this earth.

And it’s okay to sacrifice someone’s life in the name of ‘higher love’ he feels for his ex-wife.

(I’m still wondering how he decided his love is superior.)

Igor reaches Cannes, where the Cannes Film Festival is going on.

And his ex-wife is attending the festival with her new husband, Hamid Hussein, a famous fashion designer.

Igor in his quest to send his wife a message that he’ll welcome her back in his life despite her past mistake, he begins killing people.

“The worse the offender, the more devout he turns out to be.” —Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) Aforementioned lines, in my opinion, best describe Igor’s character in a few words.

Ewa gets and understands Igor’s message and fears for her and her current husband’s life.

Ewa knows Igor can kill in cold-blood and can even justify his actions. One of the reasons she has left him to start her life afresh, away from him.

I don’t know what else to add about Ewa besides, she gives a feeling that she’s alive, but isn’t least bit interested in life.

In a way, she does compliment Igor’s character and sound like a perfect match for him. But Ewa is too wise to stay with a psycho-killer.
Gabriella a 25 year-old wants to become a star, but is running out of time.

As in film industry 25 is synonymous with old-age. Despite that she gets the so-called big break and starts dreaming that it’s her time to shine on the “red carpet.”

And then there’s sought after model Jasmine. Jasmine understands the world surrounding her.

Jasmine knows and accepts that all the name & fame is nothing but an illusion. And the illusion will survive only for a short while and soon someone else will replace her.

There are similarities between Igor and Jasmine’s characters, they almost think alike. They understand the world around them. Neither one seems enamored by their surroundings.

But Igor’s the most intriguing character in the book with all the darkness surrounding him. No you can’t define or justify his actions.
At least I won’t as I don’t agree with his philosophy of killing anyone just to prove your love is ‘superior.’

The whole story revolves around him in the background of the Cannes Film Festival. I liked his philosophical attitude and approach towards the world & life.

If only he’s not crazy enough to go around killing people under the delusion that he’s doing it for the love.

Also, the book is a “quote paradise” if you like collecting quotes than this one has them in abundance.

Lessons Learned From The Story:

1. Name and fame as sought by millions across the world is nothing but an illusion. An illusion, most of us chase, but aren’t aware of the true story behind the scenes.

2. Sometimes even after getting everything you once desired (name, fame & money or whatever else you desire) the real thing keeps eluding you. That’s happiness and feeling satisfied with life and all your achievements, big or small.

3. Even the person, who seems wise enough not to fall in the trap of worldly illusions, can make all the wrong decisions and choices.

4. Media manipulates, masses into thinking that whatever it’s selling, people need in their lives to feel happiness. Or else their life’s not worth living.

5. Running after “all that glitters” won’t bring you happiness or peace of mind. If you’re not satisfied with what you have, then chances are you won’t be happy after getting what you currently desire either.


I love Paulo Coelho’s way of storytelling and weaving thought-provoking questions/philosophies in the story. Highly-recommended!

Happy Reading!

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About the author

Priyanka Sharma

Writer, Blogger | Book Reviewer | Artist |

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