I didn't quite get what Paulo Coelho's introduction alluded to, until after reading the last page of the book. I think that's the beauty of this particular story.
ISBN: 0060175443/ 0722536542
NLB Call No.: COE
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In his introduction, Coelho gave an example of how he was suddenly dismissed from his job when his career was at its peak. So basically, the story attempts to answer the question of why problems and tragedies seem to befall on people when they are at their most secure and confident time of their lives.
The Fifth mountain tells the story of the Bible's Prophet Elijah from Elijah's perspective -- his escape from persecution and then winding up in the city of Akbar.
The chapters are short and succint. I borrowed this so that I had something to read on my 16-hour flight to Oslo, Norway. Finished it when I touched down in Norway. Perfect timing.
The writing was simply poetry in motion to me. Very Zen.
Little wonder that Coelho's works are labelled as "Spiritual Fiction". Fifth Mountain was my first Coelho's story. If this is representative of Coelho's works, I'm definitely going to read more.
P. 21: Souls too, like rivulets and plants, needed a different kind of rain: hope, faith, a reason to live. When this did not come to pass, everything in that soul died, even if the body went on living
P. 64: The high priest knew that, of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible -- and the most powerful -- was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.
P. 128: "All life's battles teach us something, even those we lose. When you grow up, you'll discover that you have defended lies, deceived yourself, or suffered for foolishness. If you are a good warrior, you will not blame yourself for this, but neither will you allow your mistakes to repeat themselves."
P. 145: "... Fear reaches only to the point where the unavoidable begins; from there on, it loses its meaning. And all we have left is the hope that we are making the right decision."
P. 180: "... They had achieved everything they desired because they were not limited by the frustrations of the past."
P. 193: "The pain you and I feel will never go away, but work will help us to bear it. Suffering has no strength to wound a weary body."
P. 201: "... I know that children have no past... A child can always teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires."
P. 212: "Tragedies do happen. We can discover the reason, blame others, imagine how different our lives would be had they not occurred. But none of that is important: they did occur, and so be it. From there onward we must put aside the fear that they awoke in us and begin to rebuild."