Book Review- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is one of the most famous novels written by celebrated Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. The content of the novel is indeed a must know and must read for everyone. One can easily relate the circumstances of one’s own life with the story of the Alchemist. Let us find out why.

The story of the novel starts somewhere in the southern part of Spain where a young man named Santiago caters to his sheep and has chosen this profession because he loves to travel. A fortune teller tells him to move towards his dream destination- The Egyptian Pyramids and of course share half of the treasure he would get as per the guidance received in his frequent dreams.

Santiago meets a powerful royal presence whose name is Melchizedek. Melchizedek tells Santiago to search for his higher purpose and says that he could give further guidance as and when needed in some or the other form provided he gives half his sheep to him for a fair amount in return. Santiago is also given two legendary stones Urim and Thummim by Melchizedek .He is told by Melchizedek to look for the signs given by the existence. Santiago leaves for Africa.

Santiago is looted by a Spanish speaking stranger but he does not give up and joins the business of a local crystal seller and his ideas multiply the business; eventually leading Santiago to join a caravan to go to the pyramids, with ample funds to support his quest.

He meets a bookworm type of an English gentleman during this journey who aspires to meet an alchemist who lives in an oasis and who actually knows the method of converting lead into gold. They reach a beautiful oasis after crossing the deserts and facing several odds. Santiago finds his true love in the form of a kind as well as tough girl named Fatima. The English gentleman at the same time is unable to find the alchemist.

Nature presents certain visions and omens before Santiago that help him foretell an attack by enemies on the oasis and he is able to help the oasis residents protect themselves and defeat the enemies. The leader of the oasis community gifts several riches to Santiago thus helping him further to move towards the Pyramids. In the meantime, Santiago meets the real alchemist and is blessed immensely through his wisdom and presence. Fatima encourages Santiago to follow his dream and he moves further with the alchemist.

Santiago is able to appreciate the entire creation in the presence of the alchemist. He practically experiences the power of free and concentrated will as well during one of the odd occurrences in the story. He further gets the clue to the treasure and eventually finds it. The story ends on a surprising note.

Paulo Coelho seems to tell us the story of each one of us by using the names of Santiago, Fatima, Melchizedek and the other characters. The characters seem to take the place of real world people from our own lives. It is like a biography of everyone’s lives. The story seems to be a template on which we all can build the story of our own existence and survival and also learn a lot from it at the same time. It is a tool that will give impetus to one’s own endeavors to do what one loves.

There are several adventurous incidents in the novel that glue the reader to it and one does not feel like putting the book down. The description of natural beauty is so real that the story plays like a movie in the reader’s mind.

“The Alchemist” teaches the law of attraction in disguise with a few references to the Holy Quran and the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. It is indeed an initiation on the path to optimism and putting one’s plans into action. The essence is to follow one’s dream until it has been materialized. We all have a higher purpose in life. Living in unison with one’s higher purpose is what brings bliss. The core of “The Alchemist” teaches us how to find out and live in one’s higher purpose. Giving a sincere try does matter. The actual treasure lies within all of us…..

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