Book Review: The Alchemist

This is one of my all-time favorite books and I read it once a year to freshen up on the novel. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a wonderful tale about a boy who embarks on a journey and learns a valuable lesson along the way.

Santiago has a dream about a treasure and isn’t sure whether he should give up everything he has and pursue this dream. It is only a dream but he believes it may lead to better things. So he does what we all do when we aren’t sure what to do next; consult a fortune teller. This leads him to a journey where he meets a bunch of people, finds himself and learns a beautiful lesson about life.

This novel is similar to Coelho’s life and that makes you wonder what happened first; the novel or the experience? Coelho may have been inspired by his own journey that was over 500 miles that he walked to Santiago de Conpostela, a site of Catholic pilgrimage in Spain. He has said the walk invoked a spiritual awakening and inspired him to write his first novel, the Pilgrimage. in 1987, a year later, he wrote The Alchemist.

It is hard talking about this book without spoiling it because it is allegory and people will have different interpretations of it. The book has gone on to sell over 35 million copies and is the most translated book in the world by a living author. Originally, the novel had little success but once it was translated in French, it took off.

Santiago gets a lot of help in his journey and that is a big theme in the book. There is also “the language of the world” which means that the world will help you find your heart’s desire. A lot of spiritual themes are in the book and it is written poetically. One of my favorite books to read and I recommend it to anyone has hasn’t already picked up this gem.

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