“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”
The Alchemist is the story of a shepherd named Santiago, who wants to travel the world and learn about people. He is intrigued by a recurrent dream about a hidden treasure near the Pyramids in Egypt. Santiago, who was keen on making his own way, found it difficult to leave his sheep and his content life behind, in the pursuit of the dream. Amidst disbelief and tumult, he meets a strange gypsy woman, an angelic king, an old crystal merchant, a learned Englishman and the Alchemist himself, all with a purpose.
Time and destiny put Santiago’s faith to test and compel him to question if the dream was really worth pursuing? Or was it a mistake to leave behind the life he was meant to live? Was it a futile attempt to find a treasure which may not be there?
Structure and Elements of the Story
The Alchemist follows the Monomyth or hero’s journey story structure which begins with Santiagos’s adventure to pursue his personal calling, overcoming all the odds, and ends with finding treasure and his transformation. Selling over 65 million copies in 67 different languages, Paulo Coelho’s the Alchemist keeps the reader engrossed as Santiago’s braves the test of time, love, faith and death with courage, faith and persistence.
The Alchemist is like a toast soaked in magic without loosing the crunch of harsh reality. It is woven around metaphors, signs, omens, and concepts such as Soul of the world and the Language of the World. Though the story is flooded with these fantastical elements, the seeds of wisdom have been wisely sown by the author throughout.
Santiago’s encounter with some of the characters is meant to convey that though many hear the eternal call, not all find success. Some fail to understand, some fear failure, and for some the emptiness after fulfilling the dream stops them from pursuing their destiny.
The story is translated in a simple English and flows smoothly. However, it is possible that the reader may skip some pages in the latter half, as the book loses the momentum during a few episodes of fantasy.
Why and Who should read the book?
One may discover after reading the book that the actual alchemist is the book itself. It transforms the reader along with the protagonist. It has been inspiring readers of every generation in all corners of the world to embark on their own journey in pursuit of their treasure ‘the destiny’.
If you are looking for some inspiration in life and would appreciate some magic on the way, then you must read it.
Do the Ayes have it or the Noes? Who should not the book?
Many people find the alchemist overrated with nothing as special or amazing as others claim. It is difficult to assign a particular ideology to them. If you are not at all intrigued by metaphysical subjects and find the idea of magic and destiny absurd, the book is definitely not for you.
Dreams are sweet once they become reality, until then every moment is a struggle. Besides, being a classic fiction, reading the alchemist has been a life changing experience for many and so I definitely recommend it to be read by all. I began sharing my thoughts on the book with the quote that spoke of the desire and I will end it with the quote that speaks of the path one will have to follow to fulfil that desire.
Pro Book Reviews Rating
Structure and Elements: 3.7/5