The Alchemist tells the story of a young shepherd named Santiago who is able to find a treasure beyond his wildest dreams. Along the way, he learns to listen to his heart and, more importantly, realizes that his dreams, or his Personal Legend, are no...
The Alchemist is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho that was first published in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it became a widely translated international bestseller. An allegorical novel, The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding a treasure there.
The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, he asks a Gypsy fortune teller in the nearby town about its meaning. The woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that he will discover a treasure at the Egyptian pyramids.
Paulo Coelho de Souza born 24 August 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist. In 2014, he uploaded his personal papers online to create a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation.
Analyzing the novel's first five chapters. An overview of chapters 6-10. In-depth summaries of the novel's final three chapters.
This is one of the key repeated phrases found in The Alchemist, and as overly inspirational poster–y as it may sound, there might be some truth to it. After all, I really wanted to read something beyond exceptional after trudging through too much un-original dystopian fiction – and the universe gave me The Alchemist!
Quips aside though, Coehlo’s short 163–page book is a singularly inspirational masterpiece. The plot line is that of a simple quest – a Spanish shepherd boy, Santiago, keeps getting the same dream that there is treasure lying underneath the Egyptian pyramids. After meeting an old king who offers him some advice and some magic stones, Santiago embarks on his journey to cross the Mediterranean and the Sahara to find his treasure and accomplish his Personal Legend (a concept equivalent to our purpose in life). Amidst swindlers, tribe wars and endless sand, Santiago finds his one true love, learns alchemy and the language of his heart, and of course, fights to reach his treasure.
But reading this book simply for the plot would be akin to viewing Starry Night as globs of paint – losing at least 70% of the beauty Coehlo truly presents. With a dreamy and pensive writing style, the author weaves into the storyline multiple sage concepts which a philosopher could ponder for years on. Insightful ideas about one’s own destiny, about rising above failure, about the unity of the universe, are all things Coehlo pens into the comparatively simplistic diction of the text. The descriptions are awe–inspiring and the word choice is immaculate, but really it’s the depth of soul behind Coehlo’s words that spin the magic of this novel.
For anyone who reads not only to escape reality but also to understand reality, The Alchemist can offer the best of both worlds. The events of the novel sit just on the borderline of miraculous and the ambience is simply just not that of our humdrum teenage world. However, The Alchemist also supplies insight and inspiration that extends beyond Santiago’s Sahara and into all lives, whether young, old, or teenage. The Alchemist may not be your regular YA fiction book, but it most definitely still deserves a place on your bookshelf!
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