Review: The Alchemist

Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Quest, Drama, Adventure Fiction, Fantasy
Type: Literature Fiction
Release Date: 1988

“When you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true.”

I have read this book for almost five times now. I completely LOVE this book and thus makes it a must read. Originally written in Portuguese, the book has been translated into at least 67 languages as of October 2009. According to AFP, it has sold more than 65 million copies in 56 different languages, becoming one of the best-selling books in history and setting the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. It tells you how can one find or realize its own destiny in the phase called Life. Paulo with his well known writing skills has showed the ways how one can follow their own dream, read omens which is God’s way to lead human to achieve their dream or ultimate goal in their life. The whole world shares a common language which is understood by our heart and to understand it’s language one needs to know how to gain control over it.

The Alchemist, a fable about following your dream, charts the plot with Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd, who wants to travel around the world rather being just a flock care taker. He dreams of a treasure buried under the Pyramid of Egypt, and to make his dream a reality he travels to Egypt from Spain. While traveling he meets different kind of people from all over the world who guide him towards his dream. Firstly, he met a gypsy woman who interprets his dream about the hidden treasure and encourages him to follow it. Gradually, along the way he met the king who gives him Urim and Thummim (precious stones) which help him read the omens. Then, working for a year in a crystal merchant’s shop he learnt that everything is “Maktub”- destined. Despite losing all the valuable things he had, he continues his journey towards achieving his dream. As he passes the desert through the help of caravan, it teaches him lot of valuable lessons of life. While riding in the caravan he meets an Englishman who wants to become an Alchemist. After reaching Oasis, he happens to meet the love of his life, Fatima and the Alchemist himself who teaches him about The Exilir of Life and the Philosopher’s Stone. As the journey unfolds ahead, he started to realize what his heart actually wants and how his life is precious to him and his loved ones.

The lessons he learns on the way are life changing and it also inspires him to achieve his dream and live the life he aspires to. Paulo beautifully states, “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” This is not the end, read the book to know how did Santiago finds his treasure overcoming all the obstacles and realized what’s worth in his life. This story describes in its own way how you can follow your dreams, recognize omens which is a signal of God and the importance of listening to your heart, as it always leads to the right path.

Richika Agarwal

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