Friday, March 29, 2013
Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho
July 14th, 1099. The city of Jerusalem has long been a center of religious peace and tolerance, a place where people of many faiths - Judaism, Islam, and Christianity - have lived in harmony. But destruction looms; crusaders wait just outside the gates, ready to invade at dawn. As the frightened populace gathers in the courtyard to await the attack, a mysterious man known only as Copt begins to speak, allaying fears and answering questions about life's most elemental truths, from defeat, solitude, and struggle to beauty, loyalty, fate, and love.
Now, almost a thousand years later, the wise man's answers are still valid, and Manuscript Found in Accra shows us that there is no greater weapon than words.
I love Paulo Coehlo's writing. Its contemplative, personal, and rather inspiring. He's quite clear and concise with his words and I appreciate that about his work - I like that he gets straight to the point. I also find his books to be refreshing, especially in the way that they always manage to pick me up (like a mental mind boost). And when I heard about his new book and was offered the chance to read it, I readily agreed. I couldn't wait to find out what Coelho would be exploring in his new book. What topics would he tackle?
Suffice it to say, I absolutely loved reading Manuscript Found in Accra. I stayed up until the wee hours reading it last night, because I just couldn't put it down. And, there were just so many interesting passages that I couldn't stop re-reading or thinking about. In fact, I was rather annoyed with myself, because I don't mark up my books and I really wish I did. There were just so many times that I wanted to take a marker and highlight a sentence or paragraph - it was frustrating that I couldn't! Ugh! I really need to break that habit! Oh well, I plan on going through the book again and copying down some of the passages that struck a chord with me. Anyhow, my point is that I really enjoyed this book.
I have to be honest and admit that this book felt a bit different to me, compared to Coelho's other books. It felt more like a guide than a story - although guide isn't really the right word. It felt like an antique self-help book in a way (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all). I suppose the book felt that way, since it's supposed to be the transcription of a lost manuscript that had been found again and again. The story basically consists of questions and answers. Copt is this mysterious fellow who has taken it upon himself to answer the questions of the inhabitants of Jerusalem on the eve of their destruction. Crusaders have surrounded the city walls and they plan on attacking the next morning, and so the people have collected in the center of town to talk. Questions about elegance, solitude, sex, and love are asked. And, Copt's replies are the epitome of the phrase, "food for thought". His words are not complex, but their meaning is. You can glean so much from so little - its rather amazing really. Though these questions do address the current situation at hand, they also seem to be about the future as well - I found that to be inspiring and hopeful. Plus, I loved that the responses Copt gave were filled with ideas and statements that we have all heard before - such as, " It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." and "Beauty exists not in sameness but in difference." I felt like he had recycled old adages in a way that somehow reinforced them and made them even more relevant. It was truly and engaging and captivating read. I found myself feeling rather pensive and inspired all day long - I loved it!
Manuscript Found in Accra is a terrific read - one that will make you think, reflect, and take action. On a personal note, I felt that this book found me at the perfect time and as a result it made reading the book such a wonderful experience. I would most definitely recommend this book (and every other Paulo Coelho book) to everyone and anyone interested in reading a thought-provoking read. You will not be disappointed!
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.