By Chet Yarbrough
The Winner Stands Alone
By Paulo Coelho
PAULO COELHO (BRAZILIAN AUTHOR, WRITER, LYRICIST)
Every life is a world. Paulo Coelho’s The Winner Stands Alone magnifies the ephemeral nature of money, power, and fame. After reading “The Winner…” one might conclude–in life, we stand alone; in death, we die alone.
The Winner Stands Alone is a love-it or leave-it experience. If it is a first exposure to Coelho, a reader will likely leave it.
Coelho also wrote “The Alchemist” which is a preordained destiny story but it is more hopeful in the sense that when one dreams, dreams can become reality. It speaks to the power of conviction, self-understanding, and never giving up.
“The Winner Stands Alone” is a dark tale, cleverly written about the world of glitz, glamour, fame, and fortune. Set in Cannes during Festival, the vacuity of a nihilist’s life is stripped bare.
In “The Winner Stands Alone” Coelho cleverly reveals an evil protagonist’s nihilism.
Coelho’s “Winner…” is a nihilist who believes that existence has no objective meaning or intrinsic value. His belief inures to nothingness.
Coelho’s main character, Igor, is a Russian millionaire. Igor is a “Heisenberg-like” character with skills of a killer, passions of a romantic, and intelligence of a savant. Igor lives by instinct, like a viper with a human brain. He creates a demented plan to recover the love of his ex-wife.
Igor’s plan is to destroy worlds (the lives of others) to demonstrate depth of love for a woman who has abandoned him. Igor murders several of Cannes’ rich attendees and one poor shop girl with each victim losing their personal world of experience and existence.
Igor sends IMs to his ex-wife at the end of each murder. Each destroyed world punctuates Igor’s arrival and pending reunion with his lost love. The reunion caps Coelho’s story.
NIHILISM : THE BELIEF THAT ONE LIFE, OR ANY LIFE IS MEANINGLESS.
“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year.
Trump’s nihilist view of life & the economy–Earlier this year, there were 3,428,462 confirmed cases of Corona Virus, with 137,613 American deaths. Today, over 1,000,000 Americans have died.
What is Vladimir Putin’s destiny? He and Donald Trump seem fellow travelers.
An aspiring Cannes’ police detective, like Hercule Peoirot, recognizes a serial murderer is at work before Igor’s reunion takes place. The detective recounts former serial murderer cases to reveal common threads of intent. Igor’s intent is seen by the detective as a message that, once delivered, will stop the serial killing at the Cannes’ festival.