The Alchemist, By Paulo Coelho
(Reviewed by Dom)
Paulo Coelho makes no bones about the fact that he was a 60s hippie and seeker. Born and raised in Brazil, he wound up working in theatre and the music industry, but always carried a deep desire to write. This month’s book club selection is his most famous work, originally published in the late 80s. Twenty years later it has sold tens of millions of copies.
The Alchemist is a fable, an enchanting story of Santiago, a shepherd boy in Spain who has a dream about discovering his treasure at the Pyramids (yes, Coelho capitalizes this throughout the book) of Egypt. He sets out on a long journey, the first of multiple metaphors throughout the book.
Along the way he encounters several characters who not only aid him in the quest for his Personal Legend, but who impart wisdom and lessons that help Santiago grow. It’s not all good, however, for the shepherd boy meets danger and disaster more than once. …
The story is non-apologetically simple; the author doesn’t hide the fact that his message is the mission, and you know from the beginning that he’s teaching. We learn about the Soul of the World, the power of love, and the courage it takes to follow our hearts and realize our dreams.
And, if Coelho is successful, you’ll learn much about where to really search for your own treasure, your own Personal Legend. Learning to trust your heart is difficult for most people, but with Santiago’s help you might just find it a touch easier.
The Alchemist weaves faith into its tale, and puts a strong emphasis on reading signs and omens. If any of that disturbs you, or if you aren’t the type to occasionally step back and read something that drips with spiritualism, then perhaps this book isn’t for you. But, if you’re in the mood for a quick (167 page) fable, then you might get something from within its pages.
Of course, it’s on sale right now for 20% off at all three locations of The Tattered Cover Book Store! Just ask for the Dom and Jane Book Club.