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Adultery by Paulo Coelho
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Adultery by Paulo Coelho
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May 26, 2015 | ISBN 9781101872246

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  • Aug 19, 2014 | ISBN 9780553546309

    491 Minutes

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“An exceptional writer.” —USA Today

“Propulsive. . . .  A compelling tale of existential angst, marital betrayal and sexual sin.” —The Chicago Tribune

 “Pulls at the heart, while being both enticing and erotic. . . .  With thought-provoking honesty, the characters in this novel are given a voice that reverberates through time and space.” —Bookreporter

Adultery perfectly illustrates the faint line between madness and insanity, happiness and unhappiness and the eternal search for our own ‘personal legend.’” —Daily Express (London)

“A novelist who writes in a universal language.” —The New York Times

“Spiritualists and wanderlusts will eagerly devour . . . [Coelho’s] search for all things meaningful.” —The Washington Post

“A cerebral and subtle writer.” —The New York Journal of Books

“[Coelho’s] books have had a life enhancing impact on millions of people.” —The Times (London)

Author Q&A

A conversation with

Paulo Coelho

author of


The decision to be with someone is a matter of love. It cannot be enforced—not by society or children. You choose to be with someone because it fills your life with joy.”

Why did you choose the subject of adultery for your new novel?

Paulo Coelho: I am constantly in touch with my readers on the social networks and I started to notice there were a lot of comments about depression. At first I thought of writing a post about it, so I anonymously asked people in online forums to tell me more about their problems. To my surprise, they didn’t talk about disease, but betrayal. I couldn’t have imagined it, but as I started debating the subject, I understood how rich it was. That is how the unconscious idea for a book was first born.

How did you research this subject?

Paulo Coelho: I participated in adultery forums, not as a writer, but as a woman or a man—someone who had committed infidelity or had been betrayed. I was able to see how complicated the issue was in people’s minds. They were very hurt and ended up splitting, but many regretted that later on. I realized many of the stories were rooted in marriage crises, so I developed the plot of Adultery based on the one I deemed as most interesting. You could say the book sprung out of my mind as if fully formed.

How did it feel to write in the first person from a female perspective?

Paulo Coelho: I have done it often before. I wrote Eleven Minutes from the point of view of a female prostitute and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept was written as if I was a woman searching for her loved one. I can blend in and get involved with some characters to such extent that it is hard to tell the difference between the two of us as I am writing. 

As she begins to question her life, the main character goes through a development process. Can betrayal lead to happiness?

Paulo Coelho: First of all we need to define betrayal. It certainly isn’t my road to happiness. The road to happiness lies in understanding marriage isn’t a static entity—it is dynamic and in constant transformation. You might think the woman you’ve been with for ten years is the same person you got married to, but that’s not the case. In reality, the road to happiness is paved with compromise.

What is the great villain in a relationship between two people?

Paulo Coelho: The great villain is the attempt to “freeze” that relationship, under the assumption that you can always keep it the way it used to be. The decision to be with someone is a matter of love. It cannot be enforced—not by society or children. You choose to be with someone because it fills your life with joy. Without that joy, it’s hard to go on. It is fundamentally important to recognize relationships as a great challenge.

Can love forgive everything?

Paulo Coelho: It can, and the prime example of it is Jesus Christ, whose self-sacrifice forgave the sins of the world. It is very important to understand forgiveness. I think we’ve all been through that. In a healthy relationship love can forgive everything—I won’t say it can accept, but it can forgive. This includes arguments, of course. Arguments are normal and even recommended—contrary to popular belief, they help keep the relationship alive. I have been married for 34 years and even today we have open conversations and maintain a dialogue going.  Naturally we have our difficult moments, but we carry on.

Do you agree with the saying “out of sight, out of mind”?

Paulo Coelho: I don’t. My first big books were written in exile, so I would say absence makes the heart grow fonder and feel everything more deeply. You can certainly try to deny it, but it is a silly excuse to keep something hidden, as a secret. You will sustain less emotional damage if you are honest and positive.

Maggie Southard / / 212-572-2015

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