The Winner Stands Alone

The Winner Stands Alone

by Paulo Coelho

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Overview

The Winner Stands Alone is a suspenseful novel about the fascinating worlds of fortune and celebrity, where the commitment to luxury and success at any cost often prevents one from hearing what the heart actually desires.

 

Coelho takes us to the Cannes Film Festival, where the so-called Superclass gathers—those who have made it in the dreammaker’s world of fashion and cinema. Some of them have even reached the very top and are afraid to lose their lofty positions. Money, power, and fame are at stake—things for which most people are prepared to do anything to keep.

 

At this modern vanity fair we meet Igor, a Russian millionaire; Middle Eastern fashion czar Hamid; American actress Gabriela, eager to land a lead role; ambitious criminal detective Savoy, hoping to resolve the case of his life; and Jasmine, a woman on the brink of a successful modeling career.

Who will succeed in identifying his or her own personal dream among the many prefabricated ones—and succeed in making it come true?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061750526
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/13/2010
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 343
Sales rank: 221,436
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Adultery, among others, have sold over 175 million copies worldwide, and The Alchemist has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 360 weeks.

Paulo Coelho has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002, and in 2007, he was appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace. He is also the most followed author on social media.

Hometown:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Date of Birth:

August 24, 1947

Place of Birth:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Education:

Left law school in second year

Read an Excerpt

The Winner Stands Alone

Chapter One

3:17 A.M.

The Beretta Px4 compact pistol is slightly larger than a mobile phone, weighs around seven hundred grams, and can fire ten shots. It is small, light, invisible when carried in a pocket, and its small caliber has one enormous advantage: instead of passing through the victim's body, the bullet hits bones and smashes everything in its path.

Obviously, the chances of surviving a shot of that caliber are fairly high; there are thousands of cases in which no vital artery was severed and the victim had time to react and disarm his attacker. However, if the person firing the pistol is experienced enough, he can opt either for a quick death—by aiming at the point between the eyes or at the heart—or for a slower one—by placing the barrel at a certain angle close to the ribs and squeezing the trigger. The person shot takes a while to realize that he has been mortally wounded and tries to fight back, run away, or call for help. The great advantage of this is that the victim has time to see his killer's face, while his strength ebbs slowly away and he falls to the ground, with little external loss of blood, still not fully understanding why this is happening to him.

It is far from being the ideal weapon for experts. "Nice and light—in a lady's handbag. No stopping power though," someone in the British Secret Service tells James Bond in the first film in the series, meanwhile confiscating Bond's old pistol and handing him a new model. However, that advice applied only to professionals, and for what he now had in mind it was perfect.

He had bought the Beretta onthe black market so that it would be impossible to trace. There are five bullets in the magazine, although he intends to use only one, the tip of which he has marked with an "X," using a nail file. That way, when it's fired and hits something solid, it will break into four pieces.

He will only use the Beretta as a last resort. There are other ways of extinguishing a world, of destroying a universe, and she will probably understand the message as soon as the first victim is found. She will know that he did it in the name of love, and that he feels no resentment, but will take her back and ask no questions about her life during these past two years.

He hopes that six months of careful planning will produce results, but he will only know for sure tomorrow morning. His plan is to allow the Furies, those ancient figures from Greek mythology, to descend on their black wings to that blue-and-white landscape full of diamonds, Botox, and high-speed cars of no use to anyone because they carry only two passengers. With the little artifacts he has brought with him, all those dreams of power, success, fame, and money could be punctured in an instant.

He could have gone up to his room because the scene he had been waiting to witness occurred at 11:11 P.M., although he would have been prepared to wait for even longer. The man and his beautiful companion arrived—both of them in full evening dress—for yet another of those gala events that take place each night after every important supper, and which attracted more people than any film première at the Festival.

Igor ignored the woman. He shielded his face behind a French newspaper (a Russian newspaper would have aroused suspicions) so that she wouldn't see him. An unnecessary precaution: like all women who feel themselves to be queen of the world, she never looked at anyone else. Such women are there in order to shine and always avoid looking at what other people are wearing because, even if their own clothes and accessories have cost them a fortune, the number of diamonds or a particularly exclusive outfit worn by someone else might make them feel depressed or bad-tempered or inferior.

Her elegant, silver-haired companion went over to the bar and ordered champagne, a necessary aperitif for a night that promised new contacts, good music, and a fine view of the beach and the yachts moored in the harbor.

He noticed how extremely polite the man was, thanking the waitress when she brought their drinks and giving her a large tip.

The three of them knew each other. Igor felt a great wave of happiness as the adrenaline began to mingle with his blood. The following day he would make her fully aware of his presence there and, at some point, they would meet.

God alone knew what would come of that meeting. Igor, an orthodox Catholic, had made a promise and sworn an oath in a church in Moscow before the relics of St. Mary Magdalene (which were in the Russian capital for a week, so that the faithful could worship them). He had queued for nearly five hours and, when he finally saw them, had felt sure that the whole thing was something dreamed up by the priests. He did not, however, want to run the risk of breaking his word, and so he had asked for her protection and help in achieving his goal without too much sacrifice. And he had promised, too, that when it was all over and he could at last return to his native land, he would commission a golden icon from a well-known artist who lived in a monastery in Novosibirsk.

At three in the morning, the bar of the Hotel Martinez smells of cigarettes and sweat. By then, Jimmy (who always wears different colored shoes) has stopped playing the piano, and the waitress is exhausted, but the people who are still there refuse to leave. They want to stay in that lobby for at least another hour or even all night until something happens!

They're already four days into the Cannes Film Festival and still nothing has happened. Every guest at every table is interested in but one thing: meeting the people with Power. Pretty women are waiting for a producer to fall in love with them and give them a major role in their next movie. A few actors are talking among themselves, laughing and pretending that the whole business is a matter of complete indifference to them—but they always keep one eye on the door.

The Winner Stands Alone. Copyright (c) by Paulo Coelho . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Winner Stands Alone 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
adunlea More than 1 year ago
Paulo Coelho's The Winner Stands Alone by Annette Dunlea (Book Review) This hardback The Winner Stands Alone is written by Paulo Coelho, the author who wrote The Alchemist. Its ISBN is 0007306067 and it is published by Harper Collins. The book is set during the Cannes Festival and all action takes place within 24 hours. Coelho explores the world of fashion and cinema and discovers it is shallow and immoral. The theme is Igor's obsession with his ex-wife Ewa who is terrified of him. He decides to go on a killing spree to win his wife back. The story chronicles the serial murders and the characters he encounters on his journey. Igor justification is all is fair in love. He will do anything to win back his ex wife. Coelho is lamenting the lost values of our society that can not be reclaimed. It is well written and an easy to read thriller. Reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of The Honey Trap and Always and Forever
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Winner Stands Alone is the eighth stand-alone novel by Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho. It is translated from the original Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa. The Cannes Film Festival: Ewa is there with her fashion-designer husband Hamid Hussein for showings and some high-power business meetings; Russian telco president, Igor Malev is there to demonstrate to his ex-wife that she needs to return to their marriage. Igor’s obsessed with Ewa, and he had promised that if she left him, he would destroy some universes. He’s a cold-blooded killer with no conscience who easily murders random strangers: a young jewellery street vendor, an important and successful movie distributor, a first-time movie producer and a famous movie star, all without remorse. He refers to them as martyrs for love. But then his objective changes. While the setting is well-portrayed, the plot is contrived and paper-thin, if rather bizarre in places, while the characters are one-dimensional vessels for Coelho’s preachy philosophical rants. Igor is obviously mad but the reader has to wade through chapters of his thought processes. As the characters pontificate to one another, or to themselves, we get Coelho’s lectures on champagne, SMS messages, models, vanity, money laundering, tanning salons, gyms, police and all the industries commonly found at Cannes: movie, fashion, celebrity, cosmetics, diet, diamond, and marketing. The whole tone is very moralistic, full of platitudes and aphorisms, and very heavy on message at the expense of good writing. It is repetitive to the point of being tiresome, making this a rather tedious read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While good, this book is very different that Coehlo's past novels. The book is not as spiritual, violent, and has a very different topic than his other books. Although some past themes shine through in this new book, avid readers of Coehlo's other books may be disappointed. This book was definitely a page turner and I enjoyed it.
aarthilal More than 1 year ago
THE WINNER STANDS ALONE is a masterpiece: it talks about values lost and never found again. It looks like a thriller, but it is not - the characters are trapped and manipulated by the people Coelho calls "The Superclass". Once more Coelho made it. And I also believe Coelho is one of the few writers that are always exploring unknown seas, instead of repeating the same plot over and over again. Kudos to him.
Alla_S More than 1 year ago
Celebrities, cameras, exquisite banquets, fashion. And than there's reality. In his most controversial book to date, Coelho investigates the contemporary world of celebrity and what is hidden underneath the facade. Set during twenty-four hours at the Cannes Film Festival, we are introduced to a culturally diverse set of characters-the dangerous Russian entrepreneur Igor who destroys lives in a bid to win back his now-married ex-wife Ewa, a driven young Italian actress Gabriela whose destiny drastically changes twice in one day, an African teenager Jasmine set to sign her first major modeling contract but secretly torn between her career and her love for another woman, and Ewa's fabulously rich Middle Eastern fashion-designer husband Hamid who is blissfully unaware of Igor's plans until it is too late. Along the way, Coelho showcases various members of the show-business hierarchy such as its naive and exploited starlets, professional workaholics who are hostages to their own ambitions, and Superclass celebrities who have made it to the top but are secretly terrified of fading into obscurity at any moment. Yet, Coelho's newest offering isn't only a critical look into the makings of modern society dominated by pop culture, but also a tragic love story of a serial killer with a shocking outcome surprisingly foreshadowed by the book's title. Igor's journey for vengeance forever alters not only Igor's and Ewa's lives, but also the fate of the people Igor meets along the way like the innocent street-vendor Olivia, the superstar movie distributor, the aspiring movie-maker Maureen, and the unnamed troubled actor simply referenced to as the Star along with the Director of his new film. Interspersed throughout the story are curious factual aspects of the industry as well as Coelho's signature analysis of the celebrity-obsessed culture where both the audience and the celebrities are revealed to be victims of the system. There are also interesting tidbits about famous people like Coco Chanel (apparently she had a very negative childhood and underwent a string of wealthy lovers before she became the famous fashion designer we know today), as well as introspective reflections on fame, fashion, jewelry, and money among other topics. The eloquently described stars are revealed to be just as unhappy as the very audience they cater to, trapped into contractual freedom-less lives not much better than the standard nine-to-five-with their luxurious lifestyles a well-masked lie and self-esteem only as high or low as their latest career performance. Overall, I enjoyed Coelho's fluid writing and in particular his descriptive inclusions of various character viewpoints and industry revelations. Through his book, I feel that Coelho has given celebrity-ism a realistic new meaning-one not widely explored in the otherwise star-struck magazines or TV shows. With this new book, Coelho has left behind his ancient parables like The Alchemist and the The Devil and Miss Prym, and shifted to the present while appreciatively retaining his characteristic philosophical outlook on life and destiny, successfully depicting a plot filled with tension right up until the last page. Despite everything, even if the winner does stand alone, I bet everyone wants to be that winner.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reason for Reading: I have never read a Paulo Coelho book before and honestly really had no interest in them when I read descriptions of the plots. But bloggers continue to wax eloquent about how wonderful his books are that I knew I would have to give in a read one some day. So when I saw he had a new one coming out, the plot actually piqued my interest so I thought I'd give it a go.Comments: I'll start off by saying this is a difficult book to summarize as there are many different layers a reviewer may want to concentrate on. On the surface the plot concerns Igor,a wealthy Russian man, who is obsessed with his ex-wife; it is actually this obsession along with other things that drove her to run off with another man. He promised her once that if she ever left him he would "destroy worlds" to get her back. Now two years later, he follows her and her new husband to the Cannes Festival and starts to randomly serial kill for her sending her text messages that he has "destroyed another world" for her each time. The book also then, is set in the glamorous world of over excess inhabited by the rich, famous, celebrity, hangers-on and wannabes. It is this world that is examined ,through the characters, that show how vapid and meaningless, on the inside, is this life of grandiose over indulgences on the outside. The narrative is often from the point of view of Igor but alternates with other characters who have been affected in some form whether small or dramatically by his actions of murder. We follow the lives of actresses trying to make it, models, street jewelry sellers, actors, directors, producers, models, haute couteur designers, Igor's ex wife, people related to the deceased and those who have not yet been affected but will soon be.The writing is absolutely beautiful. Descriptions and details are a joy to read, the characters are deep and multi-layered, even those of minor importance. Not having read any other Coelho, I can't compare this to his other work but from plot descriptions I feel this may be somewhat a different kind of story than what he usually tells. I was amazed by the religiousness of the writing. I had no idea. It was beautiful. Coelho writes of a world where it is simply assumed God exists and his characters are naturally Believers. I have a slew of quotes from this book that hit me hard and made me think. If Paulo Coelho's other books are also like this I most certainly will be reading them in the future. I leave this review with such a quote:"Someone's spirit, however, has no name; it is pure truth and inhabits a particular body for a certain period of time, and will, one day, leave it, and God won't bother asking, "What's your name?" when the soul arrives at the final judgement. God will only ask: "Did you love while you were alive?" For that is the essence of life: the ability to love, not the name we carry around on our passport, business card, and identity card. The great mystics changed their names, and sometimes abandoned them altogether. When John the Baptist was asked who he was, he said only, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." When Jesus found the man on whom he would build his church, he ignored the fact that the man in question has spent his entire life answering to the name of Simon and called him Peter. When Moses asked God his name, back came the reply: "I am who I am.""
Neale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Didn't really understand this book. I couldn't understand Igor, the main character. The other characters were very easy to understand almost being cliches - but Igor didn't make much sense to me. The book targets movies and fashion - both are easy targets for cynics. The murder mystery side of the story also left me wondering what was it in for. Maybe I missed something but this book seemed disjointed.
kpdriscoll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. His metaphysical character development is always outstanding. That said, I did not enjoy this book as much as his other ones. While the commentary on social elites, the movie and jewelry industries, and high society in general was good reading, the murderous plot left me with a hollower feeling. He usually keeps himself out of that fray. Nonetheless, his insights make a poor topic very readable.
rtp3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an average book, perfect for those days when you want something entertaining to read.While the story is not that imaginative (see other reviews for details of it) ... it is well written and is a quick read. The perfect summer blockbuster of a novel.
SmithSJ01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is so frustrating to read! The chapter headings helped me get through the torturous 400 pages. Each chapter is a time of day and I kept thinking to myself that the day was nearly done and the book would be over. Phew, what a relief when it was!The reader follows a Russian businessman called Igor, who wants his love back. Actually, it felt more like a case of ¿if I can¿t have her then no-one else can¿. His wife is with a new man called Hamid and his story and Igor¿s story is told intermittently throughout the novel. In order to get his wife back, Igor uses the Cannes film festival as a back drop for a killing frenzy.I feel that although the book lacked any emotion, this was the author¿s way of getting across the insincerity of the stars and celebrities involved in the Cannes festival. Yet for some reason it didn¿t work. It felt too academic and became a chore very early on. This is my fifth read of Coelho¿s and is one I won¿t recommend to friends. I can¿t even describe who this book would appeal to. It reads like it should be a thriller, but it isn¿t. I¿ve given it two stars instead of one star, simply because once I made the decision to read it in as short a time frame as possible I actually got into the characters a bit more. In hindsight, this isn¿t actually a selling point and maybe it should join the one star reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read my post at the tenth res. <br> &#1492 The Writer ~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love kingdom hearts nice story~mustacheluvr
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Russian businessman wants to retrieve his wife who has run off with a fashion tycoon from the middle east. He goes to Cannes where the super rich gather for films, fashion, parties, and ego. In this environment, he becomes a serial killer of stars, directors, merchants, film distributors, and whoever may be unfortunate enough to cross his path. This is not a typical Coelho plot, but as a fan I have learned to expect to be pleasantly surprised. In this case, I found myself somewhat bored. As the author attacked both super rich and superficial values, over and over again, I found myself becoming hungry for action. There were too may descriptions of this valueless society, and plot was placed on the back burner. While the last thirty pages returned to a story and established some suspense, it was a little to late.
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Brauru More than 1 year ago
I have been a Paulo's follower since the Alchemist and in my case my favorite from him,The Fifth Mountain,and on this book he show us one more time how easy is for him to describe human kind,he speak to the readers describing their life and personalities through the characters on his book.I think that everyone can find something of his own on at least one of this interesting people that come to live on this book.Very good book!!
abinns32 More than 1 year ago
Great book, I plan on reading more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What did they do?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh kk bye
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Stephenie Wolford More than 1 year ago
While most of cuelo's work maintains a string of universal truths and spiritual principals this work seems void of such strength.
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