The story is about a young Brazilian girl who looks for some adventure outside her provincial life and ends up working as a prostitute in Switzerland. Maria grew up in a remote Brazilian province along her simple but hard working parents, her friends and relatives. When she was 11 years old, she fell in love with a boy but she ended up being very disappointed and hurt when he moved away without saying a word. She fell in love over and over again during her teenage years but she ended up being hurt so she decided to give up love altogether. Maria finished high school and got a job is a store. She learned a lot about sex from her friends and from TV but she never dared let herself love again. After earning enough money from working in the store she decided to take a trip to Rio de Janeiro.
Maria met a foreign man on the beach and the man told her that he can offer her a very good job in Switzerland if she is willing to leave her country and move to Europe. She decided to continue her adventure and she took the job. Maria ended up as a samba dancer in a club in Geneva but the job proved to be a total failure and she left the place disappointed. After the initial shock, Maria decided to become a model and make some money so she can return to Brazil. She started going to modelling agencies looking for work when she stumbled into an Arab man who offered her a lot of money in exchange for joining him in his hotel room and have sex with him. Maria was shocked by his proposition but she decided to go for it because he offered her a lot of money. She decided to stay in Switzerland for a little while so she can make some more money before returning to her homeland as a defeated, naive woman disappointed in her dreams of wealth and fame.
Maria started working as a prostitute in the Red District in Geneva. She discovered and studied man of all ages and professions and she learned a lot about sex. She enjoyed her life but she never fell in love or had an orgasm until she met a man who gave her first experience is sadomasochism. She felt shocked and humiliated but she started having a relationship with that man, Maria went to the library and studied different subjects and she ended up dreaming of returning to Brazil and having a small farm of her own.
One day she met a young, famous painter in a cafe. They started talking and she fell in love with him. She discovered that he was terribly disappointed about love and sex and she started teaching him what she learned in her years as a prostitute. Maria and Ralf learned new things by mixing love and sex and they discovered that they were perfect for each other.
In the end, Maria decides to put an end to her adventure and to return home to her parents. She has enough money to but a small farm and enough life experience to keep her away from trouble. She jumps on a plane a heads for Paris without telling Ralf about her plans. Ralf guesses her intentions and decides to follow her to Paris and ask for one more chance. They meet in the airport and kiss and decide to visit the Eiffel Tower.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked Maria. She is a bold, courageous young woman who decides to have her adventure and make the most of it even if it means being a prostitute.
Best scene in story:
I loved the final scene where Ralf and Maria meet at the airport and he tells her that they will always have Paris.
Opinion about the main character:
I don't like the fact that Maria gives up on love after a couple of disappointing experiences.
Nevena on 1/3/2016 3:12:29 PM says: Coelho insists on freedom that only pure and true love can give us. Not only did he write it but he had also "proved" it in the end. The only fact we have is that Maria postponed the flight and visited Paris with the man she felt love with. We do not know whether she would flight back home or stay in Europe with him. The only thing that matters is the freedom the author makes us feel- the freedom Maria had at the particular moment. Does it really matter what they will do if they managed to meet each other in such a cruel and insensitive world?
The best moment I had was when I realized what I would do- which was the moment when I supposed Maria's action after she met him in Paris.