Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho
Release date: 2013 / 208 pages
Synopsis(from Amazon): July 14, 1099. Jerusalem awaits the invasion of the crusaders who have surrounded the city’s gates. There, inside the ancient city’s walls, men and women of every age and every faith have gathered to hear the wise words of a mysterious man known only as the Copt. He has summoned the townspeople to address their fears with truth… The people begin with questions about defeat, struggle, and the nature of their enemies; they contemplate the will to change and the virtues of loyalty and solitude; and they ultimately turn to questions of beauty, love, wisdom, sex, elegance, and what the future holds. “What is success?” poses the Copt. “It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”
Review: For years I have been meaning to read The Alchemist, so when TLC offered Coehlo’s latest novel, I was excited. Howver, when I first started reading Manuscript Found in Accra, I struggled a bit to put together the historical clues, trying to connect the dots between July 14, 1099 Jerusalem, a wise seer named The Copt, and the novel I was holding in my hands in 2013. But after only a few pages, the universal and timeless wisdom imparted had much less to do with history and everything to do with the present moment.
Coelho, through the framework of history, shares sage advice about topics that confront everyone at every stage of life, including love, sex, luck, enemies, anxiety and much more. Although the novel is a very quick read, the ideas demand and deserve thoughtful consideration and meditation. I whipped through my first reading of Manuscript, but then placed it by my bedside so that I could reread each section slowly.
Here is a sampling of The Copt’s wisdom:
Do not try to make the road shorter, but travel it in such a way that every action leaves the land more fertile and the landscape more beautiful.
Do not try to be the Master of Time. If you pick the fruit you planted too early, it will be green and give pleasure to no one. If, out of fear or insecurity, you decide to put off the moment of making the Offering, the fruit will have rotted. Therefore, respect the time between sowing and harvesting. Then await the miracle of the transformation. Until the wheat is in the oven, it cannot be called bread. Until the words are spoken, they cannot be called a poem.
I could fill this review will similar gems of wisdom, but instead I will recommend that any who might be dissuaded by the historical framework or anyone unfamiliar with Coelho’s previous work give this a try — could be life-altering!