Being a determined person and hating to stop halfway I should reward “The winner stands alone” with the nomination “It did it to me!”, where the second “it” refers to abandoning reading a book after 50-60 pages… I did come back to finish it after a couple of months, only to ascertain my initial disappointment.
The story revolves around a Russian businessman eager to do anything (which for him means killing people in some sophisticated ways) to make his ex-wife return, a fashion guru from Middle East, and a couple of young girls pursuing their career in acting and modelling. I guess Coelho intended to show the glitterati world in all its profound brutality and moral and emotional emptiness, to show the difficulty of choice between fame and power on the one side and personal happiness on the other. Well… compared to his previous books which all made me pause in the middle of a sentence and think deeply for some minutes before proceeding with reading, “The winner stands alone” failed to do so. Together with the plot lacking in suspense it made the book join the myriad of novels which you forget having read a couple of months after turning over the last page.
Favourite phrases: “Sometimes the path only reveals itself once you start walking it”, “All human beings are different and should take their right to be different to its ultimate consequences.”