Paulo Coelho has written a wonderful, beautiful story of a modern life. It is done through a set of interviews with people who encountered Athena, a young woman who left a lasting impression on all who met her. She is born in Transylvania to an unmarried gypsy woman, and is given away for adoption. She is adopted by a Libanes couple and her first years are spent there. When the war comes, they move to London.
She studies, meets a man, gets married and has a son. But something is missing in her life, so she decides to leave her marriage, take her son and search for something she does not really know what it is. By chance, as so often happens when you let go of controlling things, she comes in contact with people with special gifts. Gifts which are not always explainable. Through a special dance she finds piece and with it comes a search for something higher in life.
Coelho has created a lovely character in Athena, and in her search for something to live for, he contemplates the difficulties of our modern times. Our fear of everything that is not "normal", our lack of understanding for everything that is different. Athena's search for a higher meaning, for the Earth Mother, and for an answer to all her questions, takes her through different countries and different cultures and back to where she was born.
Athena's story is revealed through interviews with people who knew her, or came in contact with her. We understand that at this point something has happened to Athena, but we do not really know until the very end.
It is a beautiful and magic story Coelho tells us. Are we too fixed on material things? Do we forget our mental longing, for something that can fill our souls with the important things in life? He makes you reflect and look for the things around us that we do not always see.