The Alchemist

The Alchemist

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.



This book is not for you if you are looking for a way to escape reality by immersing in a juicy plot during the weekend. This book is about you, me, and anyone and everyone. It is about our life, our troubles and tribulations, our goals, and the purpose of our existence. To determine our goal ( or Personal Legend as Coelho terms) and to pursue and achieve it is not difficult if we are focused because in the words of Coelho,”….. when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The difficulty of the book is figuring out what that more is. The book constantly suggests and hints at lessons that seem at once a comment on ethics and metaphysics, history and anthropology, post-colonialist critique, and folk fairy tales. Biblical allusions abound next to Islamic lessons on the nature of God while institutions and mysticism are equally likely to be evoked and revoked. There’s always the sense as you read that something is lingering under the surface, but the minute that you try to grab it (or write it in a review) it seems to disappear.

That seems to be the point of the book, that the message is clear if you read it without trying to grab it. Hold it loosely and it comes easily, try to describe it and it flits away. The book is allusive; it works on you without seeming to, and at the end, you’re left both satisfied as the adventure concludes and also wanting more, or perhaps wanting to do more. Perhaps that’s why I like this book so much – it doesn’t yield its secrets easily, or perhaps it yields them too easily, and you finish wondering where your heart and your treasure lie and what your legend might be. I imagine that this book might say more about its reader than its text: when you know your own heart and your journey well enough, perhaps this will only remain a passing, although enjoyable fairy tale.