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A Complete Guide to the Soul by Patrick Harpur

Reviewed by Alex Cater



I had never read or heard of Patrick Harpur before, now I don’t expect I will forget him. He has garnered quite a reputation amongst his peers as a slightly left-of-centre theorist-cum-philosopher.


He says his own beliefs are pragmatically Christian, yet even if your faith, or lack of it, is a little less easy to define you cannot fail to admire the gumption with which he attempts this task.


And what a task it is. A Complete Guide to The Soul is as daunting a title for a work of non-fiction as I can imagine.


Harpur has a fantastic way with metaphor and imagery: at one point he describes the oft-quoted near death experience of life rushing before your eyes as embroidery. At the time life may have seemed a mess of thread ends and knots but when the cloth is turned over the picture that was always there is revealed.


To his credit A Complete Guide to The Soul is a lucid, accessible account of changing understandings and attitudes towards the soul, comparing anecdotal evidence, history, religious beliefs and myths from around the world.


A Complete Guide to The Soul is a timely book encouraging a deeper connection with yourself, these days too often overlooked. Regardless of whatever beliefs a reader may bring to it, this fascinating work will not disappoint, as it eloquently discusses a property that unites us all, that intangible quality that makes us human.


A Complete Guide to The Soul by Patrick Harpur

Rider Books


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