The Alchemist is for fans of short story, thought provoking novels. l personally don’t remember the last time I read a novel. Probably in 2007, when I read a Drama film directed by John Huston titled “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” in form of a story. I am not fond of novels, with fictions and all the imaginations I can’t understand. The first time I heard of “The Alchemist“, I had to do a Google search and found; an alchemist is a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process and alchemy to be a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure of diseases and a discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life.
What made me even more interested to read the novel is its author; Paulo Coelho de Souza, a Brazilian lyricist born in 1947 and attended Jesuit school. At teenage, Coelho wanted to become a writer. Here was his mother’s response to him; “My dear, your father is an engineer. He is a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer? At 17 years of age, his introversion and refusal to follow his parents’ path ended him in a mental institution where he escaped three times before get released at the age of 20. He is best known for his widely translated (over 70 languages as of 2016) novel, The Alchemist that turned him into a recipient of numerous international awards. He is the writer with the highest number of social media followers; over 29 million Facebook fans and 12.2 million Followers on Twitter. The Alchemist sold over 60 million copies and in 2014 Coelho created his virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation.
Now, let’s get into it;
The author starts off the book by ‘The Alchemist’ reading a story about a beautiful youth called ‘Narcissus’ who daily used to kneel beside the lake to contemplate his own beauty. Having being fascinated by himself, Narcissus falls into the lake and get drowned. At the place he fell, a flower called Narcissus is born. Then the dialogue between goddesses of the forest and the lake rises as its fresh water had changed into salty tears. Why are you crying? ‘Asks the goddesses’, the lake exclaims; l never thought Narcissus was such beautiful. While kneeling on my banks, I only visualized my own beauty in the depths of his eyes. What a beautiful story! ‘Thought Alchemist’
The main body of this novel is made of two parts: part one and part two. I’ll describe the key themes found in both. Keep reading!
But first, let me summarize Santiago’s story in the book.
Santiago, a shepherd is in love with his flocks, limiting his thinking to search for food and pasture only, just like his sheep. Never admiring the green hills, sunset and the nature around. On the other hand, Santiago’s parents live a modest life in the fields of Andalucía which attract tourists. But to them is not a place of dreams! Santiago has interests in reading and travelling. He travels to a town where he sells some of his flocks and meets a gypsy who points him to the pyramids of Egypt claiming it is where his treasure is. Madly, Santiago believes her; he sells all his flocks and sets a journey. On the way he is robbed. His so much hard work and sacrifice ends up for a little. Santiago doesn’t give up. He keeps on persisting and at last lives a satisfying life which is everyday new to him after finding his treasure in a small, abandoned church with half-destroyed roof, the place where he had been with his sheep. This is how its epilogue ended.
The Alchemist revolves around these two themes;
1) Following our dreams: let’s be honest, we easily give up on our dreams. Probably because dreams have a price. But not living your dream has a price also. More hurting! The Alchemist teaches us persistence, once we are committed on something, we should put our energy to its completion. Remembering the words in this very book; “When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. The problems we embark in following our dreams is part of what we are trying to achieve. It’s better to have problems that make sense. You can control your destiny once you believe that the entire universe and everything in it including you were made by one hand.
2) Love; The Alchemist is remarkable for being a love story that insists love to be the central in people’s lives. When the two are in love, each has a destiny that exists independently. Despite the money or the love you have you should achieve it. Santiago searches for a treasure. The symbol of his personal legend. But in his journey, at the desert oasis, he finds a woman and think of giving up on his treasure. The love from a woman will be proved real only if she is willing to support you in search of thy treasure. Santiago’s problem here is; he confuses love with personal dreams. Romantic coupling always mask many from connecting their hearts to the rest of the world for where your heart is, so there your treasure will be. Yes, romantic love is important but don’t take it as a duty. Only through devotion to our dream we can have the power to destroy the loneliness.
I recommend The Alchemist to all daydreamers reading this review. I thought you should have this must read book
Have you read The Alchemist before? What do you think about it? Let me hear in the comments below. In case there is any other novel you think is worthy recommending to My Writers Bureau readers, you are welcomed to share its title and the name of its author. I will read and bring its review here.
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Luck & Love!