Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Manuscript Found in Accra, Paulo Coelho (5 stars)

About Manuscript Found in Accra

978-0-385-34983-3Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf (April 2, 2013)

The latest novel from the #1 internationally best-selling author of The Alchemist.

There is nothing wrong with anxiety? Although we cannot control God’s time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible. Or to drive away whatever is causing our fear. . . . Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.

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:

“Tomorrow, harmony will become discord. Joy will be replaced by grief. Peace will give way to war. . . . None of us can know what tomorrow will hold, because each day has its good and its bad moments. So, when you ask your questions, forget about the troops outside and the fear inside. Our task is not to leave a record of what happened on this date for those who will inherit the Earth; history will take care of that. Therefore, we will speak about our daily lives, about the difficulties we have had to face.”

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.”

Now, these many centuries later, the wise man’s answers are a record of the human values that have endured throughout time. And, in Paulo Coelho’s hands, The Manuscript Found in Accra reveals that who we are, what we fear, and what we hope for the future come from the knowledge and belief that can be found within us, and not from the adversity that surrounds us.


It's amazing to think how many manuscripts such as these were lost to us generations ago--that many scholars' thoughts and advice are lost to the ravages of time. 

In 1099, the mysterious Copt is speaking to a crowd awaiting attack. In the face of death, the Copt shares his views on life. Some ask if they shouldn't instead be focused on preparing for battle, to which Copt replies, "Our task is not to leave a record of what happened on this date... history will take care of that. Therefore, we will speak about our daily lives, about the difficulties we've had to face."

He then answers a series of questions about everything from defeat, solitude, self-worth, and fear to beauty, our path in life, and love. 

So many of the Copt's answers spoke to me, and this book has been dog-eared, starred, highlighted, and shared. I know there will be days I will turn to it for strength and encouragement. Some highlights:

Help us to understand that wisdom lies not in the answers we are given, but in the mystery of the questions that enrich our lives. p135

Therefore, although anxiety is a part of life, never let it control you... If it tries to persuade you that taking on lots of jobs means having a productive life, say: "I need time to look at the stars in order to feel inspired and to be able to do my job well." p145

Never miss an opportunity to show your love, especially to those close to you, because we are always at our most cautious with them for fear of being hurt... Love does not need to be understood. It needs only to be shown. p153

We all face times in our lives where the questions seem to outweigh the answers, a time where we are searching for wisdom. This book touches on so many of the topics that hold most of us back from becoming our best selves. It's a quick read, but it's packed with life-affirming and life-altering advice.

Rating: 5 stars

About Paulo Coelho

One of the most influential writers of our time, Paulo Coelho is the author of many international best sellers, including The Alchemist, Aleph,Eleven Minutes and The Pilgrimage. Translated into 74 languages, his books have sold more than 140 million copies in more than 170 countries. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, and in 2007, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

To connect with Paulo Coelho, visit his website, Facebook, or Twitter.


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Manuscript Found in Accra blog tour page.


LisaMM said...

Tia, thank you for the lovely review. I especially love the quote you pulled about needing time to look at the stars to be inspired. So many of us work at a frantic pace trying to be ever more productive and it is exhausting, physically and mentally. That quote is a good reminder to slow down. Thanks so much for being on the tour.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks, Lisa, for sending this lovely book my way. I needed to read it!