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Brida - Margaret Jull Costa, Paulo Coelho On the surface, the is the story of Brida and her quest to learn magic. I’m sure there are as many interpretations of this book as there are readers, but I read it as the story of a young woman trying to find love and her place in the world. Along the way she has to make some tough decisions about who she loves and what place love has in her life as it becomes filled with her focus on magic.

This book is like 1Q84 in many ways. Both are translated fiction. Both are magical realism. And both were like nothing else I’ve ever read in so many good ways. If you told me I’d like these books before I knew I liked them, but after I knew what they were like, I would tell you that you were crazy and that they were sure to be too literary. They are literary and they share with the classics a resonating exploration of human nature. However, Brida is practical and intelligent and fits the plain, down-to-earth narration perfectly. Although she discusses big concepts, she wonders about them in a way that is relatable rather than too literary. We learn about her hopes and dreams and feelings in such a way that she can’t be too literary. She’s just a girl with questions we all wonder about from time to time.

The magic lends the novel a surrealness which, paired with our protagonists easy acceptance of the incredible, gave this book the delightful feel of a fable. I definitely don’t think the author has a moral in mind for you, but the book will give you much to consider as you draw your own conclusions. This was a beautiful novel that speaks to the deep human need to find love and to understand our purpose in life. Vicariously through Brida you’re able to experience one person’s path to doing just that. I loved it, loved it, cannot say enough times how much I loved this book. Just read it :)

This review first published on Doing Dewey.