Quantcast
Latest Stories

Paulo Coelho’s new ‘Manuscript’

By

Because of the unusual way he wields his words, Paulo Coelho is perhaps the world’s most quotable novelist.

The Brazilian writer likes to load paragraphs with lovely, lithe sentences that stay with readers longer than the book’s plot does. These sentences are often wise, spiritual and inspiring, most potent for repeated quotation. People find epiphany within singular passages.

Coelho’s most important novel, 1987’s “The Alchemist,” is the prototypical Coelho novel, with its protagonist going on a journey of self-discovery; the book’s chapters are laced with his distinctive sayings.

That novel and its similar sequels have made Coelho a world-famous author, with over 100-million copies sold and his work translated into over 70 languages.

More importantly, his readers are more followers than fans, held rapt by the transformative nature of his written thoughts more than by the mere pull of plot.

His newest novel, “Manuscript Found in Accra” (translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013, 190 pages), is something his many fans will welcome.

The novel itself is supposed to be a papyrus found in 1974 and sourced all the way to the ancient city of Accra. But it did not originate from there.

The papyrus tells the story of one night in the walled city of Jerusalem in 1099, written that fateful evening before the Crusaders are to breach its walls.

The Copt

Within the waiting city, a Greek wise man simply called The Copt walks to the city square where a crowd of anxious people has gathered. The people ask The Copt about different concerns, and he answers.

That is pretty much the synopsis of “Manuscript.” In that sense, it is similar to 1997’s “Manual of the Warrior of Light,” so, if you liked that, you’ll like this even more.

The book then is actually almost 100-percent Coelho words of wisdom, bound together by topic and effectively unadulterated by narrative. The result is the most concentrated, most quotable Coelho novel ever written. It is Coelho explaining everything to the reader.

“I am poet, farmer, artist, soldier, father, trader, seller, teacher, politician, sage, and someone who merely takes care of home and children,” Coelho writes. “What is success? It is being able to go to bed at night with your soul at peace.”

Random questions

As the seemingly random crowd of people ask seemingly random questions, The Copt—and by extension, Coelho—manages to wax lyrically about solitude, beauty, love, sex, luck, God, miracles and the future, among many others.

Coelho states these thoughts in lovely little patches of prose like this: “Well, I will forget everything I learned about the stars, and they will be transformed once more into angels or children or whatever I feel like believing at that moment.”

Imagine, a whole book of that. “Manuscript” is thus best read incrementally, perhaps a short chapter once a day, like a book of Paulo’s proverbs. It is something that Coelho readers will welcome completely. Those unfamiliar with Coelho will either find “Manuscript” the best opportunity to discover him, or find the book’s plot too thin and the passages to be New Age platitudes. That would be unfair, though.

That’s because Coelho can write really quotable sentences, such as this one about the power of the written word here: “The most terrible of all weapons is the word, which can ruin a life without leaving a trace of blood, and whose wounds never heal.” All this makes “Manuscript Found in Accra” the new essential Coelho book and, for everyone else, a diverting collection of modern aphorisms. Remember that it was Paulo Coelho himself who wrote: “The greatest gift God ever gave us is the power to make decisions.”

Available in paperback at National Book Store.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Books , Lifestyle , Manuscript Found in Accra , Novels , Paulo Coelho

  • divictes

    A friend lent me Coelho’s “The Alchemist” and I was amazed that someone can pluck something trivial, spin and weave a tapestry of tale that doesn’t leave you parched or bruised and rejuvenate your faith in God and mankind.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  5. Almost mugged on Chino Roces Avenue
  6. Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  7. How healing waters accompanied my journey of faith
  8. ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  9. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  10. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Intrigues mar signing of Bangsamoro draft law
  • Singson apologizes for delay in Edsa road repairs
  • Congressmen seek end to small-town lottery operations
  • 16-year-old survives in wheel well of US flight
  • MMDA to blame for delay of Edsa reblocking – DPWH exec
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
    Marketplace