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Review #02, The Alchemist- Paulo Coehlo

Book Review #2
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1988)

Alchemist (noun): is the medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned particularly with attempts to convert metals into gold.

The book’s main character is a boy named Santiago. For the most part, he is the only person whose point of view we are hearing/reading about in the book. In the beginning of the book he has a dream that his treasure is buried in the sands of Egypt by the pyramids, and he goes on this long journey to find this treasure that is below the pyramids of Egypt. Of course I have to tell you about the book without spoiling the story (lol).

So, he goes on this journey and starts setting off to go to Egypt and on the way he meets multiple amazing people who give him a certain gift that he needs to understand more about his purpose, more about his journey, and more about his dream. The plot of the book is him being in pursuit of this dream and all of the trials and tribulations; and treasures that he finds on the way to finding his real treasure, which there’s a twist in the end (You have to read the book to see the plot twist). Now, the main plot of the story is all of the different experiences that he has in the book and what happens when he gets to the desert where his treasure is buried and what happens when he sets off at that moment to meet and then eventually become an Alchemist. It’s not really clear when the book takes place, we understand based on some of the context that it is after the Common Era because of some of the references they make in the book. But you can also assume that it is in the day before the internet, the day before television; when a shepherd boy would meet a King, and an Englishman, and a merchant. Back in the days when those things where plenty and abundant; and it was totally normal for a boy to set out and walk by foot across the middle Eastern Region to get to Egypt.

The book begins in Spain, where the boy is from; and ends in Spain but the middle part as far as the setting goes, takes place in Northern Africa, Egypt. The writing style of the book is definitely interesting. The author makes it his point to involve some type of wisdom and insight on every page of The Alchemist, making you feel like you are part of the boy’s journey. And anything that you can think of that would help you or hinder you in pursuit of your dream, Paulo Coelho ensures that he includes in the story some sort of metaphor, motif, or symbol.

What about people not believing in your dreams? What about when you get there, and you’re not as great as you think you are? What is the role of religion? What is the role of God, or the gods inside you? Mr. Coelho hits all of those spots. He touches of varying elements of space and other people helping you to not only see but to achieve your dream, and understanding ultimately that it all comes back to you; that you must believe in your dream, and that you must see the ultimate goal. He emphasizes that you must live everyday in the purpose, in the prosperity, and the peace of your dream in order to reach as well as to attain whatever it is that you want to achieve in life. He also shows off his poetic ability in a lot of ways. It comprises spirits and gems and languages that we might not be familiar with, but it’s not enough for it to take you away from the story, confusing you about what’s going on.

Paulo Coelho gives you enough background about all of the things that are included in the book for you to understand it, for you to feel like you are part of Santiago’s dream.

Soft copies (pdf) available for purchase. Paperbacks available on request.

info@kcsbookclub.co.za to order yours.