The Spy:A Novel by Paulo Coelho is a short book based on the life of Mata Hari. Translated from the original Portuguese, it is an interesting story of a famous woman dancer who was executed as a spy in France during World War I.  Coelho tells her story as if she is writing her recollections from her jail cell while awaiting the verdict of the trial against her.  He also uses the voice of the lawyer who defended her at the trial to fill-in missing pieces of information.

Although Mata Hari is a woman I have long been aware of as a dancer famous for her seductive performances, I knew little else except that she was supposedly a spy.

In this poetically written novel, the author sets the record straight about her life and reasons behind her eventual death.  It is a sad story, but an interesting one from both historic and feminist perspectives. I am grateful to have read it because it taught me a great deal.

About dianeledet

Professional Writing Consultant, Graduate of DePaul University School for New Learning 2008
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