Manuscript Found in Accra
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Paulo Coelho’s Manuscript Found in Accra overflows with platitudes, beatitudes, and parables seemingly written for the 20th Century but found in the 11th in the holiest city on the planet. It is the eve of the First Crusade, July 14th, 1099 and Jerusalem lies in siege awaiting the invasion of Christian forces under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon, Robert II of Flanders, and Raymond IV of Toulouse. Forces of thousands of white-mantled soldiers surround the city’s gates. There, inside that holy city’s walls, on the eve of destruction, men, women, and children of every age and faith gather at a cistern to listen to the wisdom of a mysterious teacher known only as the Copt. He has summoned the panicked townspeople so that he can address their fears with truth; truths that resonate through the ages, truths that transform the audience into better human beings just for having heard them.
Coelho records the last days of a terrified people using platitudes and parables as a wise teacher instructs the crowd on how to live better lives, even in the midst of sure death for many of them. Using the voice of the mysterious Copt, Coelho addresses the human condition in adverse times and how harmony, joy, and peace bookended with discord, grief, and war define our lives. He speaks of daily life and difficulties overcome and how to live rather than the coming war and what is about to happen to the people of Jerusalem. He speaks of what matters – love, beauty, knowledge, art, poetry, sex, grace, and the future – and of finding your own way or “Personal Legend” even in the middle of war and of “being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”
In the end, what Paulo Coelho teaches us in all of his recent works is that there is a “correct” way to live our lives. Forget color, race, money, religion, or position – there is a right way to conduct your life. Be decent and respect each other, love one another, and be at peace. One would hope that we could honor that philosophy by one day becoming apt students of this school of thought…
4 ½ stars out of 5
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