What is a summary of Manuscript Found in Accra (2012) by Paulo Coelho?

Paulo Coelho's novel Manuscript Found in Accra relates the content of a fictitious manuscript in which an inter-religious community of Jews, Muslims, and Christians living in Jerusalem consult a sage-like figure, Copt, on the cusp of the impending Crusades.

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Manuscript Found in Accra is a work of historical fiction written by the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.

Essentially, Manuscript “begins” in 1974, when an English archeologist, Sir Walter Wilkinson, discovers the novel’s titular manuscript, a fictitious papyrus written in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin, dated to the year 1307. Wilkinson’s...

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Manuscript Found in Accra is a work of historical fiction written by the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.

Essentially, Manuscript “begins” in 1974, when an English archeologist, Sir Walter Wilkinson, discovers the novel’s titular manuscript, a fictitious papyrus written in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin, dated to the year 1307. Wilkinson’s son then passes the manuscript on to the narrator (who may or may not be Coelho), who then transcribes the entirety of the papyrus and relays its content to the reader.

The manuscript, which comes to constitute the body of the novel, recounts a meeting in Jerusalem in the year 1099, on the brink of the Crusades, between an imagined harmonious community of Jews, Muslims, and Christians and a sage-like figure named Copt. The inter-religious community is fearful and anxious that they will be destroyed by the impending wave of crusaders, and they seek the consolation of the Copt’s wisdom.

As the Historical Novel Society notes, a majority of the book adopts a form reminiscent of the poet Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, in which the “audience” (the community of Jerusalem) proposes a topic or issues a statement that Copt then elaborates upon by drawing on his own experiences and formidable knowledge of religion.

In all, then, Manuscript Found in Accra is more akin to a dialogue or a piece of religious wisdom literature rather than a traditional novel; however, it nonetheless possesses a definite narrative and specific—if explicitly fictitious—historical context.

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