Paulo Coelho is the closest thing to a rock star, and not just because Madonna keeps The Alchemist it at her bedside. Millions of readers love him and no fewer look with suspicion at the spiritual message of his books. But Coelho has said it several times: He is not a Guru but a pilgrim that enjoys listening to and telling stories. Within days of the global launch of El manuscrito encontrado en Accra (Manuscript found in Accra, Vintage Español-$ 22.00), his new novel has had the same fate as the previous ones: become a best-seller.
This book is a mixture of fiction and historical facts. It tells the story of the Manuscript of Accra, written during the Twelfth Century in Arabic, Hebrew and Latin, discovered by English archaeologist Sir Wilkinson. It contains the account of the advice given by a Greek scholar known as El Copto to the people of Jerusalem as they waited to be invaded by the Crusaders.
“They can destroy the city, but they will not be able to take away all that it has taught us. Therefore, it is necessary that this knowledge not have the same fate as our walls, houses and streets. But what is knowledge? It is not the absolute truth about life and death, but that which helps us to live and cope with the challenges of everyday life. Not the erudition of books, which simply serves to feed useless arguments about what happened or what will happen, but the wisdom that resides in the hearts of men and women of good will.”
As in El peregrino, Coelho delivers a vital vision for understanding reality. It drives through human impulses such as passion and fear. But here, in the form of a parable, warning that what controls the soul is nothing but preconceived ideas. There is nothing in the past that actually prevents thinking about change, both individual and social.There is an abundance of messages in the media about an imminent disaster, El manuscrito encontrado en Accra arrives in timely fashion. Coelho says he met the son of Sir Wilkinson in 1982:
“I remember he mentioned the parchment found by his father, but neither gave much importance to the matter. On November 30, 2011, I received a copy of the text that he had spoken about during our first meeting. This book is the transcription of the manuscript.” With this information that further blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality, it is impossible for Coelho fans not be enchanted, once again.
About the Author
Paulo Coelho (Rio de Janeiro, 1947) is one of the most widely read authors in the world. His books have been translated into 73 languages and published in more than 170 countries. Coelho has been appointed Messenger of Peace by the United Nations and is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. El manuscrito encontrado en Accra is his first book after undergoing heart surgery in January 2012.