The Alchemist

Genre: Fiction, Quest, Drama

Reading this book simply for the plot would be akin to viewing Starry Night as globs of paint — losing at least 70% of the beauty Coehlo truly presents. With a dreamy and pensive writing style, the author weaves into the storyline multiple sage concepts that a philosopher could ponder for years on. Insightful ideas about one’s own destiny, about rising above failure, about the unity of the universe, are all things Coehlo pens into the comparatively simplistic diction of the text. The descriptions are awe-inspiring and the word choice is immaculate, but really it’s the depth of soul behind Coehlo’s words that spin the magic of this novel. The Alchemist may not be your regular YA fiction book, but it most definitely still deserves a place on your bookshelf! -The Guardian

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel in the eclectic “magical realism” category is dazzling in many ways. The style reads simply yet contains powerful emotions, interesting and deep characters, plots twists, and inspiring wisdom. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. He arguably changes his own destiny with his actions. Along the way, he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. Santiago must wrestle with what he is told vs. what is real. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within– the fine line between reality and the spiritual. Lush, evocative, and full of awesome quotes about being, the story of Santiago is a real (and slightly magical) representation of the transforming power of our dreams, whether real or imagined, people in our lives, and the importance of listening to our hearts.

The Good

The Alchemist revolves around a simple yet powerful idea — “We too easily give up on our dreams, yet the universe is always ready to help us fulfill them.”

At the outset, “The Alchemist” is a simple story of an ordinary boy with extraordinary dreams. At its core, it is the story about the never-ending battle between the mind and the heart. It is the story of you, me and every other person and how our destinies get shaped, not by the unforeseen situations that occur in the path of our dreams but rather by how we react to those. If you respond well to stories that teach you what you already know in a different way and don’t mind novels that involve mystical, magical things that do not happen in real life. e.g. a shepherd having a conversation with the soul of the universe, you will like reading this one.

In my honest opinion, you should read this book once. Not because it will dramatically change your life overnight but because it will give you a positive perspective to see the world around you. In unprecedented times like these, where the advent of a novel virus has left a lot of things uncertain, it’s good to have faith and hope for a better tomorrow.

The Bad & Ugly

To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing about the book. It can move into the religious territory at times, talking quite in-depth about God and heaven, etc, so depending on your own beliefs this could be a downside.

Favorite Quotes

  • It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
  • When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
  • Love is not to be found in someone else but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person.
  • If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
  • I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival because life is the moment we’re living now.

Fun Fact

The Alchemist was initially written and published in Portuguese by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho in 1988.


Thank you for reading. Hope to see you in the next one. Till then, don’t forget that you’re amazing.

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