Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Review: Manuscript Found in Accra

Manuscript Found in Accra
Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wasn't a fan of this novel.

This link to John Crace's comical review of Manuscript for The Guardian expresses my thoughts a million times better than I could ever write.


But seriously, I have a problem with Manuscript's content. As I read through the different topics presented, I was never sure if Coelho was showing the reader that New Age philosophy grew out of Biblical teachings, or if Biblical teachings were, when it came right down to it, New Age. This is an important distinction, but ultimately either interpretation places Coelho in the wrong.

Of course, since Coelho uses a Coptic narrator, he could always discard such criticisms by claiming that neither of the positions I attribute to him are his own views, he is merely presenting the narrator's (a Coptic wise man) thoughts on such topics. But given that Coelho is the author, the criticism still comes back to him.

Either way, I had a very strong, uncomfortable feeling that my morality, sense of religious history, and Biblical knowledge was being put to the test in reading this book.

I suppose that if I don't like New Age fiction, I should stop reading Coelho. I just wish he would stop trying (seeming to try?) to ground his New Age philosophy on universal themes found in the Bible.

Either New Ageism will stand on its own, or it will fail due to it's own internal inconsistencies. But to drag biblical subjects into an extraneous discussion of morals, simply because Coelho disagrees with certain religious doctrine, is intentionally misleading, and as such is considered scandalous.

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