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on May 9, 2003
This book shares the same theme as 'The Alchemist', the theme of the quest, seen as a journey that takes the main character far from his own country. 'The Fifth Mountain' begins with a reference to 'The Alchemist' and the author repeats the central idea of his first book: `when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it'. This book can be considered a sequel, although the content is different. But in principle, the idea remains the same: how to to accept and carry the responsibility of living one's`destiny'.
The main character is prophet Elijah, a Biblical figure who set out the conditions for the coming of the Messiah, and eventually, after he was thoroughly tested was sent up to Heaven. 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 text of the book in itself is very simple, but the message is very powerful: only by confronting what is most important to you, and so confronting yourself at your most vulnerable, you can climb the wall of frustrations that keeps you from what you desire, which gives meaning to your life.
To what point can we predict our own destiny? - this is the main question in the book and Im sure many of us tried to find an answer. Elijah is sometimes torn between the desire to serve God and the needs of those he has come to love. But the reader will find out that love and faith will eventually triumph over. Only love and faith will help our hero get over the difficulties.
Here you can find some quotations from the book - Im sure it will make you want to read it:
- '... 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.'
Is there anything else I should say to help you decide read this book? Im sure you wont regret this experience.
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on March 18, 2006
I have read quite a few "Coelho" books to date, and am truly amazed by the powerful insights woven within the stories of each and every one! In fact, I have yet to read a book by this author that has not moved me in some way.

"The Fifth Mountain" is a story written about the biblical figure Elijia - his trials & tribulations, as well as his joys, loves & great accomplishments. In a very interesting way, the author guides the reader through the many lessons to be learned through the life of this prophet and all those he touched.

Some of the lessons/insights that I realized/remembered through reading "The Fifth Mountain" include:

*Through every hardship we go through, there is a lesson to be learned - so be on the lookout for what lessons/insights are showing up in your life, and take heed.

*Freedom is the ability to follow your heart without concern for the opinions of others.

*We must CHOOSE rathter than ACCEPT our fate

Overall, I found this book to be an easy, interesting, powerful read - with many great insights woven into a memorable fable-type story. I would recommend this author to everyone!
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on September 2, 1999
I have read The Alchemist this summer, and since then, I am looking for every book of Paulo Coelho to read. The second book I read was the Fifth Mountain. This, without a doubt, one of the best and most inspiring books in my life. Everybody, who wants to live their life with more quality should read this book. It gives so many answers through a simple biblical tale about Elijah. It is not Elijahs life that is important, it is important that you identify, find yourself in the situations that Elijah is going through. I have to admit that I even cried reading this book, but I enjoyed it (this is the first book that i cried reading it) Give your soul a treat and read this book!
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on April 8, 2005
As with his previous book -- The Alchemist -- Paulo Coelho blends mysticism, fable, philosophy, and spiritualism into an entertaining canvas of ideas. The path he takes us down seems to always be familiar, and yet he manages to bring out the enchanting quality of even the most basic undertaking.

As with most stories created as fables, we're meant to take something away from this novel, even if it's not the message intended by the author. For this reason, Coelho peppers his book with lessons that seem simple, yet provide enough of a platform to inspire philosophical or ethical debates, while leaving you with no greater understanding, only perhaps, a greater appreciation.

Here, we're taken back to the story of Elijah and his struggles with God. While the Bible gave Coelho the outline for his novel, there's a lot more meat and illustration here than in the traditional telling. Even still, none of the original story appears to be tampered with, except where literary license is necessary to provide a greater image.

Even so doing, the language is easy and simple, reading as fluidly as any children's story. It's this framework that we're meant to remember -- the Bible stories from our childhood -- that were supposed to instruct us and guide us. It's that kind of basic, subtle syntax, with the rich overtones of the Central American community, that propel Paulo's meaning in a such a delightful way.
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on November 8, 2004
This book arrived on my book shelf at a very appropriate time for me.

A young man is torn between choosing love or choosing life's task. The outcomes of both choices are ambiguous. He has to decide sacrificing love for the betterment of his people, or sacrificing his people for the freedom to love.

To put it an oxymoron, his task is clear yet cryptic.

I feel anyone will be able to relate to the story of Elijah. Paulo Coelo brilliantly plays the movement of the mind in lifes immanent decision-making processes. And while in the middle of the book (I cannot reveal what happened..) you may begin to oddly feel the cynicism of life which we all encounter at some point, however, following Elijah through his journey turns out to be be quite the opposite.

Beautifully constructed, Paulo Coelho reminds us of how he has mastered form and function in his writing. It seems funny that I even mention that because he IS a master in his field. But when you close this book, you will be reminded of powerfully he has been able to move your mind, and perhaps even, your heart and spirit as well.
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on September 27, 2000
I loved the Alchemist and adored the Pilgrimage. I am a huge Coehlo fan and an adherent of his "New Age" beliefs. That said, this book is alright. It's a simple tale and easily read like his other books, but this one gets sappy and fizzles out half way through.
From reading the other reviews I don't think people get that THIS IS NOT THE TRUE STORY OF ELIJAH. In the Bible E. goes to King Ahab of Canaan and warns there will be a drought if Ahab doesn't stop worshipping the false idols of Queen Jezebel's Phoenician religion. Ahab doesn't listen. E. escapes to the desert, flees to Zarapeth (Akbar), stays w/ the widow, resurrects her son, the end... Well not the end b/c in the Bible, E goes back to Canaan 3 yrs later to overthrow Jezebel. In the bible, nothing more is said about his life in Zarapeth/Akbar. In The Fifth Mountain, E. spends many, many years in Akbar. He lives with the widow, falls in love, the city is destroyed, rebuilt and he becomes governor.
This story is all over the place. One example: after E. and the widow have professed their love, she tells Elijah that she loved him from the moment she laid eyes on him. Even though when her son died (but before E. resurrected him) she has him arrested for cursing the house. Their love story is very dissapointing. They are afraid for yrs., they have a good day or so, then she dies.
Throughout there is a power struggle btwn the gods of the Fifth Mt (the Phonecians gods) and Elijah's judaism. There is another struggle: the governor & Elijah vs. the evil High Priest who wants everyone to die so that the alphabet doesn't spread. (no, I am not making this up). The HP wins and the city is destroyed in a war. Then Elijah rebuilds the city, he teaches the inhabitants who are left to write (the evil priest loses after all), he becomes the governor, he conducts a cheesy renaming ceremony and calls himself 'Liberation'... then god gives him permission to go back to Canaan (where he will supposedly complete his biblical task and bring back the right religion)
It is hard to take this seriously. I can't believe Coehlo wrote this. The opening of the story is wonderful. It fails when he errs from the bible's story. I think he had a super idea--to tell the missing story of what Elijah did in exile, but he doesn't do it well.
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on August 30, 2000
After having read The Alchemyst I decided to catch hold of all the books by Paulo Coelho. Fifth Mountain was my second book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Paulo definitely proves to be one of the best authors on books of inspiration.
In the Fifth mountain he brings to light the life of Elijah the prophet in a fairy tale manner. Most of us are not aware of this aspect of Elijah. Elijah is put to various tests by the Angel of the Lord and how he overcomes these tests and tribulations in life, this is what the book is all about. Elijah is given various tasks in his life by the Angel and how he handles these amidst his own doubts, beliefs and attractions of life..... is very beautifully portrayed by the author. The story is set at a time when idols and Gods were worshipped alike.
It also shows the belief and faith in God can conquer all in this world. In his path to becoming a prophet Elijah teaches us various lessons and one of them is - it is always necessary to know when a stage of one's life has ended. It you stubbornly cling to it after the need has passed, you lose the joy and meaning of the rest.
A great book
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on March 14, 2004
Paulo Coelho's book The Fifth Mountain will captivate your attention and warm your heart. It is probably my favorite of his books, along with By The River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept. Coelho's simple yet hauntingly beautiful words will entice you to read all his other books. Let's hope for tons more from this author...I know I'll never get sick of him! The only thing that I don't like is the fact that I can't get some of his books available in English and that it took me forever to get a copy of The Devil and Miss Prym.
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on March 14, 2000
The Fifth Mountain reflects Coehlo's progress since he wrote "The Alchemist". This work is more mature and better crafted. I was impressed by the unique historical circumstances chosen by Coehlo as the background for this novel. Coehlo does a brilliant job of avoiding the temptation of making Elijah seem too much larger than life, and treating him as a superhero to whom most readers could never relate. Rather Coehlo creates the portrait of a man who is very human, undergoing a very real struggle to find his faith and understand his mission in life, love, and its consequential suffering. I agree with the reader who pointed out the flaw in "The Alchemist" in that that there are many questions unaswered and unexplored, such as to why the boy was chosen for the journey. The historical background of "The Fifth Mountain" avoids this weak link by clearly establishing Elijah's historical role as the savior of Israel from Jezebel. This prevents the reader from wondering aloud "why him?" and makes for a more fluid read. This work can also be understood as a lesson for peoples of the world to recognize their common humanity and put aside centuries of hatred and misunderstandings. Despite the fact that Elijah is an outsider in the community, he is soon respected as one of its wisest members. His relationship with the young boy of the woman whom he loved is a very touching brush stroke on this work as well. This is a must read for anyone searching for a spiritual, uplifting masterpiece.
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on January 23, 1999
A friend of mine told me to read this book...I promised him I would but in Turkey it's not easy to find every English book you want. Only a year and a half later was I able to buy the Switzerland. I bought it so I could read it on the 6hr car journey to France. I ended up finishing it in 2 and a half hrs the very sam everning and I still remember all that I read. If you know about the Ying-Yang sign, you know what this book is all about. In every evil there is goodness, in every goodness there is evil...try to see the good in every will make life much easier!
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