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TITLE: The Alchemist
AUTHOR: Paulo Coelho
RATING OVERVIEW (OVERALL: 3.75)
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
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MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:
WRITING (★★★★): Paulo Coelho is a wonderfully talented author who’s storytelling ability draws you in and keeps you reading. His writing style is intriguing and yet simple. With that said, The Alchemist is a very fast read. It took me all of maybe five or six hours to get through.
STORY (★★★★): On the surface, The Alchemist is a simple story of a sheep farmer who sells his sheep to set out on a journey to follow his dream… his calling… his Personal Legend as it is called in the book. Yet, in reality, there are deeper messages weaved throughout the story. Lessons we are all meant to learn, but maybe in each our own way.
Paulo Coelho is a philosopher. The over-arching theme I believe he is trying to get across is that everyone and all things are connected. The past, the present, and the future are all intertwined.
One could read this story and take away that you must live in the moment… be mindful of the life here in the present because the past and future can not be changed.
Another reader may take away that the author is telling you to stop working to live and just start living. Follow your dreams and give 100% of yourself to the journey to reach your Personal Legend. If you’ve ever heard Arnold Schwarzenegger talk about his life – this is similar to the message he tries to get across; that you must be all in – with no backup plan.
I’m sure there are a dozen other life lessons that one could read in the passages of The Alchemist and I would argue that each and every one is right, for the reader that interprets them.
If you’ve read The Alchemist, I’d love to know what lesson or message you took away from it. Comment below and tell me what you thought of the story and what your major take away was.
I highly recommend this story for teens and young adults. They are still trying to find themselves and figure out exactly what they want out of life. I would argue that this story is a great source of encouragement to never give up and always strive to achieve what you are truly passionate about.
CHARACTERS (★★★★): I enjoyed all of the characters, for what they were. However, the lead character, the young sheep farmer named Santiago, was written extremely well. His backstory was laid out beautifully and I felt a connection to him and an investment in his journey.
The character development and connection from chapter to chapter flowed wonderfully. It was nice, for once, to read a book where the author didn’t introduce a thousand new characters in every chapter.
APPEARANCE (★★★): The cover is simple and yet aged. I don’t think I would have picked this book up if I had passed it in the book store. However, because it was given to me by someone I trust, I ignored the cover and jumped right in.
“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”
“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”
“Don’t give in to your fears, if you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, he soon discovered his vocation for writing. He worked as a director, theater actor, songwriter and journalist. His collaboration with Brazilian composer and singer Raúl Seixas gave some of the greatest classic rock songs in Brazil. In 1986, a special meeting led him to make the pilgrimage to Saint James Compostela (in Spain). The Road to Santiago was not only a common pilgrimage but a turning point in his existence. A year later, he wrote ‘The Pilgrimage’, an autobiographical novel that is considered the beginning of his career.
In the following year, COELHO published ‘The Alchemist’. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time.
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ALSO BY PAULO COELHO:
Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch.
This enthralling novel incorporates themes that fans of Paulo Coelho will recognize and treasure. It is a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from the master storyteller.
The Valkyries (1992)
A Magical Tale About Forgiving Our Past and Believing in Our Future
The enchanting true story of The Valkyries begins in Rio de Janeiro when author Paulo Coelho gives his mysterious master the only manuscript for his book The Alchemist. Haunted by a devastating curse; Coelho confesses to have seen my dreams fall apart just when I seemed about to achieve them. In response he gives Coelho a daunting task: He must find and speak with his guardian angel. The curse can be broken; he replies; if you complete the task.
Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings . . . and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.
Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life’s biggest questions.
The Fifth Mountain (1996)
In the ninth century b.c., the Phoenician princess Jezebel orders the execution of all the prophets who refuse to worship the pagan god Baal. Commanded by an angel of God to flee Israel, Elijah seeks safety in the land of Zarephath, where he unexpectedly finds true love with a young widow. But this newfound rapture is to be cut short, and Elijah sees all of his hopes and dreams irrevocably erased as he is swept into a whirlwind of events that threatens his very existence.
Written with the same masterful prose and clarity of vision that made The Alchemist an international phenomenon, The Fifth Mountain is a quietly moving account of a man touched by the hand of God who must triumph over his frustrations in a soul-shattering trial of faith.
Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997)
Warrior of the Light: A Manual is an inspirational companion to The Alchemist, an international bestseller that has beguiled millions of readers around the world. Every short passage invites us to live out our dreams, to embrace the uncertainty of life, and to rise to our own unique destiny. In his inimitable style, Paulo Coelho helps bring out the Warrior of the Light within each of us. He also shows readers how to embark upon the way of the Warrior: the one who appreciates the miracle of being alive, the one who accepts failure, and the one whose quest leads him to become the person he wants to be.
Paulo Coelho is one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Now, in the long-awaited companion to his first novel, Coelho presents a collection of philosophical stories that will delight and guide seekers everywhere.
Eleven Minutes (2003)
Eleven Minutes is the story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that “love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer. . . .” A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Maria’s despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. In this odyssey of self-discovery, Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness – sexual pleasure for its own sake – or risking everything to find her own “inner light” and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love.
The Zahir (2005)
The narrator of The Zahir is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who has disappeared along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover.
Was Esther kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply escape a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator doesn’t have any answers, but he has plenty of questions of his own. Then one day Mikhail finds the narrator and promises to reunite him with his wife. In his attempt to recapture a lost love, the narrator discovers something unexpected about himself.
The Witch of Portobello (2006)
How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of who we are?
In his most personal novel to date,
internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable
journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist,
Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual
renewal and growth, his only real option is to begin again—to travel, to
experiment, to reconnect with people and the landscapes around him.
Setting off to Africa, and then to Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian railroad, he initiates a journey to revitalize his energy and passion. Even so, he never expects to meet Hilal. A gifted young violinist, she is the woman Paulo loved five hundred years before—and the woman he betrayed in an act of cowardice so far-reaching that it prevents him from finding real happiness in this life. Together they will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, traveling a path that teaches love, forgiveness, and the courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. Beautiful and inspiring, Aleph invites us to consider the meaning of our own personal journeys.
I want to
change. I need to change. I’m gradually losing touch with myself.
Adultery, the provocative new novel by Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life’s routine and the desire for something new.