The Fifth Mountain

by Paulo Coelho

Talk about unplanned themed reading! I was listening to Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord (I was curious how the Queen of Vampires protrays Jesus.) I happened to see a visiting friend reading The Alchemist, and decided to read this to pass on to him, and hopefully recruit a new BCer. So I picked up the book with no clue that it is based on a Biblical figure!

I am not too familiar with Elijah’s story in the bible, but I certainly find the portray of God rather weird in this book. I guess there is a very fine line of following his will or battling it to show yourself worthy ( “There are moments when God demands obedience. But there are moments in which He wishes to test our will and challengs us to understand His love.”) Well, please God, grant me the wisdom to distinguish the two.

I also so not understand very well the reasons for the High Priest to opt for war… to stop alphabet from spreading? Okay, I suppose he wants the privileges of being a minority of educated. Still it sounds as far-fetched as a comic book villian’s desire to conquer the world.

The opening is beautiful, and the scene of the bowman very powerful. The rest of the book seems somewhat muddled though. And I find it hard to believe that Elijah would claim to love someone yet dragged his feet to rescue her from a burning house. To reason that she must be dead by then and just thought of sitting down and do nothing is just beyond me. Surely, if the love is strong, you would rush there, dig your fingers raw, for the one millionth of a chance that she is still alive.

I am afraid I do not like this one as much as The Alchemist. The Alchemist is a beautiful, magical story, with a crystal clear message: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I don’t see a message as loud and clear in The Fifth Mountain though. I think this is what the author wants to say:

“[God] desired that each person takes into his hands the responsibility of his own life. He had given His children the greatest of all gifts: the capacity to choose and determine their acts.”

“A warrior knows that war is made of many battles; he goes on.”

“If you have a past that dissatisfies you, forget it now. Imagine a new story of your life, and believe in it. COncentrate only on those moments in which you achieve what you desired, and this strength will help you accomplish what you want.”


Published in: on January 15, 2007 at 4:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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