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Red carpet for Coelho

The world of fashion, of publicity hungry actors and red carpet hungry actresses, comes alive in Paolo Coelhi’s attempt at a thriller — The Winner Stands Alone. Damini Purkayastha tells more.

books Updated: May 02, 2009 21:55 IST
Damini Purkayastha

The world of fashion, of publicity hungry actors and red carpet hungry actresses, comes alive in Paolo Coelho’s attempt at a thriller — The Winner Stands Alone.

Set in Cannes during the film festival, it follows the life (and psyche) of a serial killer who begins to kill the rich and important.

Coelho, who often visits the Cannes Film Festival, set out to understand why people behave in a certain way with regard to celebrities. “Each year, Riviera resort is visited by people loaded with money. The resort is full of party invitations, [people] lose sleep over what to wear and dream of being spotted as the ‘next big thing’ in the world of entertainment,” says Coelho, adding, “I said ‘My God, these people are here, spending a fortune, and where is the fun?’.”

These questions prompted him to write a book on fashion and celebrities as he believed this “world has excess of glamour.”
Through dialogues and introspection, the 61-year-old author has his characters explore these very questions. Currently caught up in the post launch frenzy, Coelho’s Indian representative says he may visit India in the near future.

Publicity hungry?
Coelho’s best selling novel, The Alchemist is now being made into a movie by Harvey Weinstein, but the novelist is leaving no stone unturned to publicise his latest book. Coelho has opened up his blog to readers in a way like never before. The first twelve chapters of his novel were simultaneoulsy put up on his blog and Coelho invited comments from readers on each of them.

Once the books were launched, he started a campaign calling on fans everywhere to photograph the book in their respective countries and cities and email them to him.

On the site, currently, there is a montage of photographs from various countries. A standalone picture of several copies
of the new book being displayed in a bookshelf in Hyderabad, taken by a girl named Sheela, is highlighted on the author’s blog.

Besides these, Coelho blogs almost everyday, has put up videos of himself and responds to readers as much as possible.

He even has The Winner Stands Alone wallpaper downloads for fans and e-postcards with one-liners from the book styled to glamourous photographs of women set in ithe 70s.

An action-based plot with more drama and comparatively less philosophy, and a blog that promises to draw in the “masses”; the man of thought is certainly on another tangent this time. Whether it works or not, time will tell.

E-mail author: damini.purkayastha@hindustantimes.com