Book review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Book review The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Bibliographic information Original title – O Alquimista.
Cover artist – Caravaggio, “Narcissus”, 1597-9.
Country – Brazil. Language – Portuguese.
Genre – Quest, adventure, fantasy.
Publisher – HarperTorch (English translation).
Publication date – 1988. Published in English – 1993.

Author’s background

The Alchemist is fabricated by a Brazilian lyricist and novelist, Paulo Coelho. He wrote this book in a short time span of ‘two weeks only’. His writing style in this book is quite elevated and crisp. His choice of words is particularly precise. It is clearly noticeable as the book is quite short having around 167 pages only. He is famous for his touch of mysticism and spirituality in his works. It was his second book, The Alchemist, which made him famous.

Also, it is his extensively translated International bestseller. His books have never failed to achieve its goal of making the readers cultivate a deeper understanding of life.

Theme And Plot

The Alchemist takes the reader on a journey of a boy named Santiago, who is an Andalusian shepherd. He is the book’s protagonist and he has a repetitive dream of a treasure. He is a determined and persistent dreamer who is all set to embark on his quest for a treasure. He travels from Andalusia in southern Spain to the Egyptian pyramids. Along his journey, he finds many people who help him and become a part of his journey. Also, there are times when he gets distracted from his path. He learns many life lessons amidst the journey. Will he be able to find the treasure?. The reader gets to know the answer to this intriguing question as the story unfolds. The theme which is to follow your heart and to chase your dreams is skillfully handled. There are specific lessons which leave the reader pondering upon how they should be willing to accomplish their dreams with enthusiasm and determination. One of the crucial substances of the book spins around the fundamental problem of whether one ought to tune in to his/her heart or not. The kid discovers his affection at a specific spot and certain points on his excursion set out. He gets honorable treatment for the individual he is and he feels to have accomplished everything in his life.

 “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” says the boy to the Alchemist.“Tell your heart

 that fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And No heart has ever suffered when

 it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter

 with God and the eternity.”, Alchemist replies to the boy.

He asks himself whether he should move further for his fantasy or not?

This book has done wonders for the ideal audience. Some of the powerful life-changing lessons one can grasp from ‘The Alchemist’ are:

  1. Treasure quest: a treasure is not something that you are finding outside in the world, it is something hidden inside you.
  2. Never give up: You will surely face hurdles while striving for success. You may take a break. But never give up on your dreams.
  3. Follow your heart: It will take some time. But you will reach your desired destination. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist. This is an insightful quote taken from the book but the book is so much more.

This book is highly recommended for readers who enjoy reading quest and adventure fiction novels.

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