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…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)


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The Alchemist


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book surprised me. Partly because I didn’t know much about it prior to reading, and partly because for some reason I thought it was going to be an action adventurer book that had later been made into a rather dreary movie. Go figure.

However, if I had bothered to read the back or the dust jacket prior to reading it, chances are I still would have been a bit surprised. (In other words, the description is so vague and standard that it really didn’t really prepare me for the tone or the story.)

Basically, The Alchemist is a fairy tale, albeit a rather long one. There is a quest, there are forces of good and forces of evil, there are morality lessons, the reading of omens, and the predictable happy ending. All of that, I enjoyed. In fact, though it isn’t my normal sort of reading, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Unfortunately, as is the case in many fairy tales, the magic sometimes seemed more like plot spackle than plot development. There are also subtle things that I think are lost in translation. I can almost feel how beautiful the passages would have been, how poetic, but in English, the flow is a bit lost and there are times when the phrasing seemed clunky.

Despite that, I found it a very, very quick and easy read. Though the story is simple, it is still engaging, and even if I have nothing in common with the main character (a shepherd boy who decides to sell his flock and embark on an adventure for a treasure he has dreamt about in a far off land), I still found meaning and hope in his quest.

Like any morality tale the teaching moments are sometimes overly redundant and the personification of one’s heart, the wind, the sun, etc can get a bit awkward and tiresome. Ultimately though, it is a fable that I will remember and pass on to others.

It was, indeed, worth reading.




2 comments:

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.

Canada said...

Alchemist is a novel about self-empowerment. In general, adversity ordinarily turns dreamers into failures because it destroys hope and brings disappointment and regret. However, Santiago finds the inner strength to follow his dream in spite of all the obstacles that he encounters throughout his journey. He teaches the reader that when a person really desires something all the universe conspires to help him make the dream come true. The young shepherd boy does not allow fear to prevent him from searching and finding his personal legend or inner-self. Difficult times often are great opportunities to explore one's dreams, to find new opportunities and to discover the things that are really important in life.