If there ever was a book for which I could say that the journey is more enjoyable than the destination , this was it. I have read just one other book from Paulo Coelho , the Alchemist , but after reading this book I have realized that he has a unique writing style . His stories are very simple , no twists, no high drama. But he asks the reader a lot of questions as he goes on with his narrative , normal and paranormal alike. The author also has a really uncanny knack of reading human behaviour . The book is filled with a lot of quotes which just makes you wonder how can anyone be so damn correct about what we feel in our everyday lives.
The book is based on the age old boring question of whether all human beings are essentially good or essentially evil . What drives someone to do evil , love , jealousy, greed? How would a person or a community would react if presented with an oppurtunity where evil would bring them gains beyond their dreams. Would they just drop every ideal they’ve lived by all their lives and behave like any other person would ? Or would they find out a scheme or a plot where they could justify their wrong doings using god , religion or greater good as their excuse . Where does all this stop, at what point their conscience stops being relevant.
The book really exposes the hypocritical side of the human nature. Infact it does it so brilliantly that at one point of time it reminded me of the conversation the Joker had with the Batman in the Dark Knight
Joker : When the chips are down , these “civilized” people , they’ll eat each other . See I’m not a monster , I’m just ahead of the curve.
I was just browsing through books when I saw this book and I was intrigued by the title . I then read the description at the back of the book. It had a small synopsis of the story and after I was finished reading that I had decided that I was going to read this book and I am so glad I did.
The story is about a small village , of 281 people , sorry , 281 very righteous people. Who have done practically no wrong in their lives , have lived by the moral code , god fearing people . One day , a stranger walks into that village with 11 bars of gold , and offers them a deal in which they’d have to commit evil , and the 11 bars of gold would be theirs. Sounds really simple right? But as I said , the book is about the journey and not about the destination.
A few very compelling quotes from the book
“People want to change everything and, at the same time, want it all to remain the same.”
“There are two kinds of idiots – those who don’t take action because they have received a threat, and those who think they are taking action because they have issued a threat.”
“In the beginning there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking it was very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today.”
“It is always far easier to have faith in your own goodness than to confront others ad fight for your rights…”
My Rating : 8/10.
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