I enjoy Paulo Coelho so when he ventured into a non-fiction piece I thought I’d give it a try. A short read, I found it very informative about the life of Mata Hari, leaving you with enough info to pursue more information about this intriguing woman of history.
Using burlesque type dancing, Mata Hari achieved fame and fortune she never imagined. Her sexuality seduced men of power enabling her to secure a lifestyle she thought would last her lifetime. But on came World War I, throwing everything into chaos. Continuing to move freely about Europe, she was convicted of being a German spy and ultimately executed by a firing squad by France. It was obvious that her conviction was retaliation and a ploy to keep ‘what she knows’ about the sexual exploits of her A-list clientele.
This book is a first hand account, in her voice, through letters of correspondences after her imprisonment. Sad to say the least, her final days are were spent lonely, revealing her naiveté and how easily she was cast aside. Mainly because she was a woman and how her social class wasn’t established.
A perfect example of when women use their sexuality, it can only take them so far. When that diminishes, as in her case (she was getting older), she became expendable. Without the means to utilize her salacious relationships with top clients of the era, again, she was left penniless, friendless and to die. Combined with her existence being in an era of little women’s rights her unfortunate situation is a poignant lesson of the politics dealing with war and the non-voice of people with a common social status.
A good read.