Book Review Sample :- ” The Alchemist ” by Paul Coehlo.

Book information :-

English Title :- The Alchemist
Original Title :- O Alquimista
Author :- Paul Coehlo, Brazilian author.
Genre :- Quest , Adventure , fantasy.
Language:- Portuguese
English translation by :- Margaret Jull Costa
Publisher ( English Translation ) :- Harper Torch , 1993.
Pages:- 208 pages ( 1st English translation )

Book Cover :-
The cover has a very enchanting and beautifully designed which attracts reader on the first basis.

When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it “

About author :-

Paul Coehlo is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist .He belongs to a middle-class family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He is best known for his novel The Alchemist, which holds the Guinness World Record for most translated book by an author, and selling more than 65 millions copies in more than 150 countries as one of the best-selling books in history.

Paul Coehlo is considered as the world’s most popular spiritual writer. His books including -, The Alchemist, The Devils and Miss Prym , The fifth mountain, Manual of Warrior of light , Veronica Decides to Die , , covers various serious topic such as love , magic , dreams , spirit , suicide , real meaning of life etc.

He wrote The Alchemist only in 2 weeks . He explained that he was able to write at this pace because ” the story was already written within his soul “.
He described the book as a film that takes place in the mind of the reader , an allegorical novel about a young shepherd’s journey of finding his dreams .

Summary :-

The Alchemist is about the journey of a boy Santiago of Andalusia who is a shepherd . His parents have continually struggled for basic necessities of life and have smothered their own ambition accordingly . Santiago on the other hand can read and wants to travel .
One day Santiago retires for the night in an abandoned church with his flock of sheep. An enormous sycamore tree has grown in the place where the sacristy used to be. This is where Santiago falls asleep and dreams a recurring dream of a child who tells him that he will find a hidden treasure if he travels to the Egyptian pyramids.

Santiago visits the village of Tarifa. There he meets an old woman who interprets dreams, which she says are the language of God.
The old woman tells Santiago that this dream is prophetic , in what she calls “the language of the world,” and that Santiago needs to travel to the pyramids, where he will find a treasure that will make him rich. Santiago is uncertain, however, since he enjoys the life of a shepherd.

Santiago meets a mysterious old man who introduces himself as Melchizedek, or the King of Salem. He tells Santiago about good and bad omens .
Santiago started traveling after selling his flock and purchasing a ticket to Tangier in Northern Africa . He was unfortunately robbed which made him look for a way to make enough money to return home. He finds work in the shop of a crystal merchant.

After eleven months of working in the shop,he meets an Englishman who wants to learn the secret of alchemy, or turning any metal into gold, from a famous alchemist who lives at an oasis on the way to the pyramid.

While traveling, Santiago begins listening to the desert and discovering ” The Soul of the World “. The caravan eventually reaches the oasis, and there Santiago meets an Arab girl named Fatima and falls in love with her instantly but had to leave eventually with a promise to return again , in search of his treasure

Santiago wanders from the oasis into the desert and, seeing two hawks fighting in the sky, has a vision of an army entering the oasis and gets into trouble because of the tribal wear .

He meets an Alchemist who offers to cross the desert with Santiago.
Soon the two men enter into an area of intense tribal warfare. Warriors hold the two men captive, but eventually allow them to continue their journey

. The alchemist tells Santiago that he needs to return to the oasis, and that the rest of the trip is Santiago’s to make alone so that he can claim his treasure whom he referred as “Personal Legend”.

Santiago arrives at the Egyptian pyramids and begins to dig. He finds nothing buried in the ground. Thieves beat Santiago and rob him of his money. After he tells them of his dream, though, one of the thieves recounts his own dream about a buried treasure in the sacristy of an abandoned church.

Returning to Andalusia, Santiago goes back to the church where he dreamed of the treasure near the pyramids. He digs where he slept, beneath a sycamore tree, and there he finds his treasure Santiago’s treasure.

Analysis of the book :-

The Alchemist is a fable about following your dreams .

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer , the boy said ‘

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself and that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream , because every second the search is a seconds encounter with God and with eternity .”

The Alchemist is a diversified allegorical story about a shepherd who cross boundaries just to follow his recurring dream which was entitled as “the language of the heart “ by the gypsy woman and a man whose encounter made him ” follow his omens “

Paul Coehlo in his interview stated that “omens are individual languages in which God talks to you . They are this strange ,but very individual language that guides you towards your own destiny . They are not logical ,but talk to your heart directly .”

The writing style in the book is simple yet contains powerful emotions, interesting and deep characters, plots twists and inspiring wisdom.

Santiago journey is a spiritual quest ,where he travels through the desert ,speaks to the wind and ‘Soul of the world’ which is connected by everyone’s heart desires or as the Alchemist said ” Personal Legend “

The novel is figurative and metaphorical in style . The omens , Personal Legend , Soul of the world , the talk with the wind , holds symbolic meaning which may seem as fantasies fantasized by us somewhere some day .

The story not only aids one to follow his dream but connects it with the Soul of the world ,the universe where everyone is bonded with an invisible wire and makes us one .

The story is like living in a magical realism , getting enchanted by the omens , talking with winds being a part of the universe that we all are but tend to forget and finally following our dream despite the hurdles because following our heart desire means encountering eternity .

when you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”

The book explains the major purpose of people living , that’s finding one’s treasure i.e Personal Legend and traveling to find it because following the personal legend is like connecting to something deeper of the universe ,to the threat that connects universe and our hearts , something that makes us follow our heart and reach our dreams which fear paralyse for us .

The fear of suffering is the mammoth hurdle one faces while taking the first step towards their dream .
The Alchemist , mystically addresses the fear of suffering as worse than fear itself .

Paul Coehlo in his interview said ” the only way that you can learn the language of the soul is by making mistakes . I made my mistakes but then I started to connect with the signs that guide me “

Making mistakes is the key to finding one’s Personal Legend . But fear of taking risks only lets one suffer with regret of not trying to reach out for their dreams .

The world is conspiring for us ” , it symbolizes the determination one has for his dreams. Without hope and determination one can never know about the universe doing it all to make the dream come true .

Conclusion :-

Santiago struggles with what he is told versus what is real , between reality and the spiritual. He moves from hopeless to hopeful .

The book , with the magical realism genre leaves the reader with many questions.
The questions are left to the reader’s imagination .

But Paul Coehlo said “there are some questions in life that we don’t know . We can’t have answers for everything . But we try to find good questions and not good answers “

Santiago represents the transforming power of our dreams, whether real or imagined and the importance of listening to our hearts.

The book is for one’s who want not only to escape reality but also to understand reality . The Alchemist can offer the best of both worlds.
Each person has a destiny that exists independently of others. Only through devotion to the dream is the ‘soul of the world’ revealed to us, the knowledge that destroys fear of suffering and gives power.
The Alchemist tells us that dreams have a price but, as Coelho has said in interviews, not living your dreams also has a price.

The book shares the Magic with the world , and affects so many lives.
The Alchemist is an unforgettable story about the wisdom of listening to our heart and following our dreams .

Dreams are made to be followed
Life is meant to be loved
Some books are meant to be read ,
Loved and passed on
The Alchemist is one of those books “

1 reply

  1. Haven’t read it yet, but I am gonna read it soon now. Thanks for this amazing summary. Loved every bit of it!