mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Urim & Thummim. (73)

The Illustrated Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, paintings by Moebius.

Elixer of Life,
Philosopher's Stone, neither
are the true Great Work.

Lets start by saying something nice, shall we? These paintings by Moebius are, as usual, par excellence. Moebius is an astonishing artist, with no less a pedigree than Alien, Star Wars, Tron & well...many other less recognizable but no less impressive works. The cover, with its turbaned mendicant & black pyramid, really made me think-- hey, maybe this isn't what my preconceptions of it are telling me it is! Unfortunately...it really is what you think it is. A self-help book that that has more to do with The Secret than to The Goetia. If you believe in your Personal Legend, the Soul of the Earth will always guide you! Sorry; when you cross Taoism with Monotheism, things start going screwy. A shame too, since I care about Personal Mythology so much. There are a few bits in here of value-- sure, listen to your heart or whatever! & the discussion about the simplicity of the Emerald Tablet was nice. Otherwise, though, no sir. Aesop-eque fables don't work when you don't have a pithy bit of folk wisdom to back it up. Now, embedding moral lessons in alchemical texts is all well & good-- I just prefer the genuine messages of something like The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz to predictable pablum. Not to mention the whole "a good woman lets her man go traipsing about, waiting patiently for his return" nonsense. This was a Book Club Selection, like A Visit From the Goon Squad, & while I'm happy to have a reason to go outside my comfort zone, I hope next time I'm pleasantly surprised by what I read there. Still, did I mention that Moebius' art is quite nice? Lovely stuff.
Tags: book club, books, haiku
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