Paulo Coelho’s The Spy and its Femme Fatale

Paulo Coelho, the acclaimed author of The Alchemist, makes a magnificent return with the story of Mata Hari in The Spy. Convicted of German espionage by the French in WWI, Hari left a legacy that has inspired films, musicals, ballets, and (in this case) a compassionate novel that considers how history remembers the courtesan.

Mata Hari, 1919. Image via Internet Archive.

Mata Hari, 1919. Image via Internet Archive.

Born Margaretha Zelle in the Netherlands, she experiences much throughout her life and upbringing that lead to the emergence of Mata Hari in Paris. How does a young girl flee her homeland, enter a new country without a dime, and become an exotic dancer? It’s a complex journey. Mata Hari knows that to lead the life she wants to live, she’ll need to use her greatest asset: her confidence in her body. Told in Mata Hari’s voice as she writes her last words, Coelho’s novel triumphs at giving her truth a form of expression.

Hillary Huber captures Mata Hari’s courage and strength in her hauntingly powerful performance. Her accent and capacity to keep her voice strong, yet tender, make for an immersive experience. Listening to The Spy feels like traveling back to Europe at the turn of the 20th century. You’ll want to sit back and enjoy the riveting performance.

Hear a clip from the audiobook: The Spy