by Colm Holland
This is a book unlike anything I've seen before. It is written by someone who was in the publishing industry when The Alchemist by Paul Coelho first came out in English translation. The introduction explains how the author was in charge of determining which new releases would fill the scarce shelves of the Australian book market and after reading the manuscript of Coelho's book, saw a bestseller and ordered an unprecedented number of copies.
But that isn't all. It goes on to tell how a meeting with Coelho led to a mystical experience and understanding of the book far beyond a story of a shepherd discovering his true will. That mystical revelation and subsequent changes to the author's life, from a fiction story, is what this book is all about.
At the time of writing this review I haven't read The Alchemist, though it's on my tbr. I wondered many times while reading, did Coelho intend to speak in allegory for deeper meanings or did Holland read his own mystical journey into what was intended only as a hero's journey story? I have no answer to that, but it apparently worked well for Holland and put his life on a satisfying track.
The explanation of the stages of spiritual Alchemy was worth the read alone. The "Dark night of the soul", enlightenment, then active phases might have come out of a book in the Mind, Body, Spirit section and perhaps that is where this one will be categorised. Much of it is personal to the author, yet the journey has similar stages to anyone following this spiritual path, whatever symbols they couch it in.
An interesting read and well-written so that it kept interest.