I received this book as a gift about a year ago- and although it is a relatively short read, I managed to put it off for quite some time.. But after the last two books that I read, which were both very heavy material, I needed something a little different. And this story kept me intrigued. It is the story (historical fiction) of Mata Hari, who was a famous dancer in Paris in the early 1900s, until she was arrested for espionage and executed.
I thought the book was well-written and interesting. And I appreciate that it was told from the standpoint of assuming her innocence. Coelho was definitely sympathetic to Mata Hari, and treated her story with respect and care. But, I have to admit- and I think it may have something to do with the #MeToo movement- but I feel like I am growing so weary of hearing stories about women, just living their lives- in this case in a free and confident, rather sensual manner– and being punished for it. Accused of espionage, with very little evidence (none really), thrown in jail, and brought in front of a firing squad… this seems an easy – yet quite extreme – way to get rid of a woman who carried the secrets of some very powerful men.
I am glad that I read “The Spy,” but I am tired of the same old same old. I really hope our world is headed for the kind of cultural change that would make stories like this obsolete. (I am not naive, but I still have hope).