Book Review: The alchemist

Book Title: The Alchemist

Written By: Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is written by Author Paulo Coelho. It is one of the best-selling books in entire history. It was first issued in 1988 in Portuguese and is now translated all over the world into many languages. The novel is a tale that follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a frequent dream of finding a treasure there. Author wrote The Alchemist in only two weeks in 1987. He explained that he was able to write at this pace because the story was “already written in soul.”

The story is about Andalusian shepherd empowered to follow his dream. Santiago is an Andalusian shepherd boy who learns lessons through a dream of a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. An old man, the king of Salem, the first of various spiritual guides, tells the boy that he has to discovered his destiny: “to realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation.” So Santiago sells his sheep, sails to Tangier, is tricked out of his money, regains it through hard work, crosses the desert with a caravan, stops at an oasis long enough to fall in love, escapes from warring tribesmen by performing a miracle, reaches the pyramids, and finally gets both the gold and the girl. Along the way he meets an Englishman who describes the Soul of the World; the desert woman Fatima, who teaches him the Language of the World; and an alchemist who says, “Always listen to your heart” A message clings like ivy to every encounter (“concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man”).

According to The New York Times, The Alchemist is “more self-help than literature.” The advice that was given to Santiago (“when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true”) is the fundamental lesson of the novel’s philosophy and a motif that plays throughout it. Another interesting theme in the novel and that one can relate to is those related to the harmful consequences of fear. If people let fear control their lives, they will live miserably. Had Santiago let the fear from following his dream dominate his life, he wouldn’t have discovered the treasure and most importantly the meaning of his life.

Hardship is a important in the journey of every successful individual who followed his dream. What separates these great human beings from the rest is that they are never afraid of hardships. While a painter running from gallery to gallery requesting them to display his masterpiece is a hardship, but so is sitting on a desk in front of a screen, following orders, travelling in the same local train each day, and meeting the same or same kind of people for your entire life.

The difference is that the painter gone towards hardship, tackled it, and killed it. While the ones running away from them ultimately get caught and pinned down by it. It’s better to die fighting than being a prisoner, isn’t it? Paulo Coelho wants people to be fighters, not prisoners. And he conveys his message in a phenomenal way!

The Alchemist is a must read.