Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 1, 1933
Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids.
Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
"Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there."
The writing was beautiful, even if it tended to be very repetitive in themes. A lot of "finding your personal legend" and "listening to the Soul of the World". Thankfully, they didn't take away from my overall enjoyment level - they were good messages, honestly.
I enjoyed the point of view that was used - I can rarely get into third person, but this one was just easy to slip into. Like an ancient myth or a legend. Santiago is only named one time, ever, and he's our main character. Throughout most of the book, he's referred to as "the boy", and other characters are referred to as "the old king", "the alchemist", and "the englishman" (along with a few others). The only characters that are truly named are the women... which I actually find to be an interesting statement. Is it a metaphor, or is it just a weird quirk? Whatever it was, it made things pretty interesting.
The only thing that was a bit of a disappointment was the character development - it was thrown to the side in favor of Santiago's story. His finding himself, and finding his personal legend took the spotlight from his development, which I didn't really mind, even though I love development. So, all in all, The Alchemist was a really interesting read. I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot - for some reason, I thought it would be boring. But it wasn't. It wasn't at all.