“The Alchemist” Review


Photograph courtesy of SoniaT.

“The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho” by SoniaT 360. is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Janu Shrestha, Staff Writer

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is a story that follows an Andalusian shepherd, Santiago, who—by learning to listen to his heart—journeys on from his homeland of Spain to a desert oasis and finally where his treasure would be found: the Egyptian Pyramids—shown in his dreams many times.

In Santiago’s journey to find his treasure, he encounters love, lessons that had to be learned, and various people who aided him. One of the characters that Santiago comes across is a king with no kingdom. The king teaches Santiago that every individual has a personal legend: a destiny, an identification of one’s purpose in life, and then chasing after this found purpose. Much like how in alchemy, a symbolization in this book of a constant theme, a metal’s personal legend is of becoming what people constantly think of to be in a treasure chest—gold. This king also gives him two magical stones to signify omens from the universe—a guide to all if allowed to be.

Santiago seeks his treasure with the guidance of an alchemist who helps in unlocking many powers and treasures Santiago has within himself and leads to him trusting the universe, listening to his heart, and persevering throughout.

Initially, one’s thoughts of intertwining alchemy, omens, the universe, love, powers, and the understanding and listening of a heart of a shepherd into a novel would be unbalanced and impossible to connect the lines between the above listed. However, once the page is turned, it is a whole new world. Coelho, who taught alchemy for eleven years, based his teachings in this book. This book gives people changes in perspectives, values, beliefs, and everything that makes up who they are for their own personal journeys navigating throughout life. Just like the universe, which in The Alchemist is set as a guide to others, this book is truly magical.

Many people do not have the courage to look deep within one’s soul and realize our destiny, our personal legend. Coelho states in his book that it is because people may not feel worthy, people are scared of their fears and failures, and think it is impossible to achieve their destiny. However, in this book, following Santiago throughout his quest, it teaches the readers how anyone can fulfill their personal legend but they must persevere and trust their hearts, not letting their mind create doubt, fears, and impossibility.

Blasting with perseverance and optimism, The Alchemist teaches the readers that everyone has a bond with fate and destiny, and what they seek will always find their way to each of them if they let it. All to do is listen and learn the language of the heart, the universe, and accept the mistakes but bounce back to one’s goal and purpose.

Santiago’s journey to fulfill his personal legend from the meadows of Spain to the desert oasis and finally where his treasure lies, the Egyptian Pyramids, takes the readers through their own journey more than they can imagine.

Coelho has achieved his goal and gave his readers a fresher and newer outlook towards life that changed many values and beliefs and gave a broader perspective on many aspects.

“The Alchemist is an inspiring fable, a metaphoric tale by Paulo Coelho that reflects his own journey and soul,” Billionaire Mind Publishing on Goodreads stated, “It teaches us to listen to our hearts, follow our dreams and go after what we set out to be.”

Books give an escape from reality but The Alchemist not only provides this escape but also provides a door to open for understanding reality. Readers must brace themselves for they will not be the same as before they read the book. Paulo Coelho does a phenomenal and remarkable job on The Alchemist and is truly one of the best books out in the universe.