The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho is not another The Alchemist but still it is much better than his recently released Adultery. The Alchemist is more of a spiritual book which will make you want to read all the books written by the author but Adultery is way below the author own standards. The Fifth Mountain is way much better.
Myth and Fiction Fusion
The Fifth Mountain is based on the mythology of Middle East countries. The author has picked up the story of Elijah of Israel from the Hebrew Bible. In it Paulo has incorporated his own imaginary events which together came out as a gripping tale of Elijah, the Prophet of Israel.
Elijah’s, a simple carpenter, life turns upside down when he choose to listen and follow the voices and vision of Him, the Israel God. His mission from God was to restore His worship in Israel, for the king there had married a foreign princess, who was introducing her own gods to the people. The princess orders massacre of all the prophets which forces Elijah to flee to a country named Akbar.
There begins a new chapter in his life. With His, the Israel God’s grace, he carry out a miracle which helps him establish in the country, find love of his life and strengthening himself for his mission. But all was lost when Akbar was attacked and destroyed by Assyrians army.
From here on begins Elijah’s struggle against God, he revives back Akbar, completes his mission and finally receives God’s blessing and goes to Heaven.
Unlike The Alchemist, which is more of a spiritual book, The Fifth Mountain was a religious book with strong faith in God. People fight and rule in the name of God. But if this religious element could be kept aside then the book has many powerful messages for the human being.
The book reaches the epitome in the third part when Elijah rebels against the God and refuse to follow Him instead his heart and goes on to reconstruct Akbar. He chooses his fate instead of accepting it. Thus inspires courage in people and lot of self confidence.
It is very important for an individual to make his own choice or take his own decision, right or wrong in another issue, instead of giving baton of your life in someone else hands.
Elijah has survived in near death situations and has never given up. He showed tremendous resilience in the adverse conditions and always bounce back in spite of tribulations. Elijah’s character infuses the fighting back spirit which alone could bring out a person from any distressing and depressing circumstances and tragedies.
Pearls of the Book
As his other works, The Fifth Mountain has many words of wisdom. I have listed some of my favorite.
– ‘… a man must choose… therein lies his strength: the power of his decisions… he who makes no choice is dead in the eyes of the Lord…’
– ‘There is no tragedy, only the unavoidable. Everything has its reason for being: you only need to distinguish what is temporary from what is lasting.’
– ‘If you have a past that dissatisfies you, then forget it now.’
– ‘A child can 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.’
– ‘Take advantage of the chance that tragedy has given you; not everyone is capable of doing so.’
– ‘Sadness does not last forever when we walk in the direction of that which we always desired.’
– “There are inevitable moments of misfortune which interrupt our lives. However, they happen for a reason.” Sometimes the world seems to have conspired against us, and so we ask ourselves, “Why does this have to happen to me?” Confronted by the inevitable, some of us become discouraged; others, however, grow stronger and increase their understanding.’
Paulo’s writing is simple and easy to understand except when the angels speaks in typical Shakespeare type of language it is then a bit difficult to understand easily. Otherwise the conversations between characters were decent and the story flows effortlessly.
Elijah is the main character of the story and the main focus was to bring out his inner turmoil, sentiments, the change in his character from the one who forever depended on The God to take decisions to becoming a self confident human being who chooses his own destiny. Everything was written very well.
But this doesn’t mean that other characters are overlooked. The widow and her son, Higher Priest and Commander, Governor all the characters got enough space.
The blooming love between Elijah and the widow was beautifully described. The readers could feel the purity in their love.
A reference was made of his previous work The Alchemist as well as to Warrior Of The Light. Shepherd here plays an short but important role of guiding Elijah. He manage to survive the life threatening situation in desert with the help of a Crow.
The Fifth Mountain is a great read. It is about trials and tribulations of the biblical prophet Elijah but anyone could relate to it. The book is about having faith in the Higher Power but not to undermine one’s own will power.