Book Review: The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Published May 1st 1993 by HarperCollins (first published 1988)
Paperback, 197 pages
Original Title : O Alquimista
ISBN13: 9780061122415

Blurb: 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.

So, I’ve finally picked this up after procrastinating for years and it was also my very first read of the year. I’ve heard of the author since I was in high school (that was in the late 90’s) but never had the time to read any of his works for some reason or I didn’t actually try to pursue them. I’ve read some passages from his books over the years and I’ve read the last chapter of By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by accident but never fully read it. So at the dawn of the new year, I decided that it’s time for me to immerse myself to the works of Coehlo and for a first read, I find The Alchemist just about the perfect introduction to his works.

I did not expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. I was able to finish it in just a few hours and I was in deep contemplation right after. I loved the narrative of the story from the beginning to the end. I find it inspiring and insightful at the same time. I also find it a bit emotional in terms of the humanity of Santiago through his encounter with the king, the thief, the glass shop owner, the alchemist and him trying to get a firm grasp to what he’s been looking for all his life.

Though I find it preachy at some point, I still find myself enamored by the story. I was rooting for Santiago and his search for his damn treasure. I was rooting for him when he discovered love and I was rooting for him when he felt the fulfilment of his destiny. I’m on a fence about destiny and all of those things but I’m such a sucker for a happy ending.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
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.

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