A journey through your heart
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the ‘once in a decade’ kind of book that stays with its reader.
It is a book of inspiration due to its simple wisdom. It is the book that leaves a mark on whoever reads it.
It is simply a matter of emotion and of being able to listen to what your heart tells you to do. The writer focuses on the omens and signs that destiny has weaved into one’s life.
It is a magical tale of following one’s dreams. The best part is that it is not hopelessly complex, but is based on simple truths of life. But that is where most of our secrets lie. So every reader can relate to them.
When a person really wants something, the entire Universe conspires so that he can realize his dream. It is enough to learn how to listen to the dictates of the heart and to decipher the language that is beyond words.
The Alchemist tells the adventures of Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd who one day leaves his flock to go after a chimera.
It’s an enriching journey through the desert sands that recreates a beautiful and revealing symbol of life, man and his dreams.
Record in sales
Since its first publication in 1988, The Alchemist has sold more than 65 million copies, a great record for a book originally written in Portuguese.
It has been translated into more than 60 languages and distributed in 150 countries. Needless to say, it marked the way for the author’s next work.
It is an allegory about the meaning of life and the destiny of each one, and the convenience or not of struggling to change it.
The Alchemist is not only the most read book of Brazilian motivator Paulo Coelho, but one of the 10 most sold of the last 50 years, with more than 65 million copies, surpassed by just half a dozen titles.
As we explain in this concise summary, the key to its success lies in the way of presenting a message, through a narrated story in a very simple and direct way.
It was first published in 1988, being the second book of Coelho, after “El camino de Santiago” and has been translated into 67 languages (holds the Guiness Record as the most translated author).
After 18 years, it continues to appear in the lists of the best sellers in various parts of the world. It has already been announced (finally!) a film version for 2016, as explained below.
The story orbits around Santiago, a young shepherd who lives in Andalusia, Spain, during a distant past, who has a recurring dream in which he is revealed that he will find a treasure hidden in the pyramids of Egypt.
After consulting with a fortune teller and talking with a wise old man who presented himself as Melchizedek, king of Salem (and who gives him two stones with divinatory powers called Urim and Thummim), he decides to undertake the long journey that would take him to his destination, to his personal legend.
He crosses the Mediterranean and in a North African seaport someone steals the money to him of the sale of its sheep.
Then he gets a job with a glass merchant. After a while, thanks to the ease of Santiago for business, he gets enough money to continue the journey.
He joins a caravan that will cross the desert, where he meets an Englishman who speaks of alchemy, and learns of the existence of a character, The Alchemist, possessor of the secrets of that art.
They arrive at an oasis, in the middle of a war of clans, where he meets Fatima, who will be the love of his life, and meets The Alchemist. On leaving, they are detained by a group.
The Alchemist convinces the chief of them that Santiago is a magician who can become wind; if they do not do it in 3 days, they will be executed.
After Santiago, based on the lessons learned, manages to converse with the desert, the wind, the sun and the hand that had written everything, the wind blows with such force that it moves the boy from one place to another. The captors are impressed and let them go.
They advance to a Coptic monastery.
There The Alchemist transforms lead into gold, and divides it into 4 parts: one for him, one for the monastery, one for Santiago, and one for a monk when the young man returns from the journey.
Santiago must continue only towards the Pyramids. When he arrives, he begins to search for his treasure. Some bandits – to whom Santiago tells about his dream – assault him, steal him, beat him and force him to continue to behave.
When his life threatens, the head of the band understands that the vision is true, and tells him that he had a dream about a treasure that was buried in Spain, on the side of a church, under a sycamore tree.
James understood that the treasure was in his own village, but if he had not made the long and dangerous journey he would not have discovered it.
He returns to Andalusia and uncovers the treasure. He goes to the fortune teller (whom he had promised ten percent of what he finds) and then to find Fatima again.
The message of El Alquimista, by Paulo Coelho
The story, very influenced by classic stories like those of “A Thousand and One Nights”, and even by modern authors (like Jorge Luis Borges), is an exhortation to try to reach our dreams, without waiting for them to come to us.
It is also a refutation to the belief in a destination already defined which would be only a limitation to fulfill the goals that we propose.
Nevertheless, Coelho emphasizes how all the events of our lives, fortuitous or not, influence the possibility of reaching our Personal Legend.
It also highlights the idea that we will not necessarily reach our goals on the first try, but that it is a “long run” in which perseverance, keeping our eyes on the final goal, is fundamental.
It is a book loaded with optimism and hope, surely one of the reasons for its success.
The style of Paulo Coelho
The book is written in a very simple language, the story is told by an omnipresent narrator, in chronological order.
It is loaded with phrases that seek to convey a teaching or maxim and decorated with anecdotes and stories and even biblical passages, as is usual in the works of Coelho.
It is a short story if you want it, which you read in a couple of hours (in fact, Coelho wrote it in two weeks).
It is a book suitable for all ages, especially for adolescents interested in exploring the theme of spirituality and self-improvement. It can even be read by individual chapters, as each has its own message.
Finally a film version
Since Warner Brothers acquired the rights to the film in 1996, Paulo Coelho’s followers have waited for an audiovisual version of this book. However, the projects had remained in the background.
Various media have reported the news, however, that finally in 2016 they will film the long awaited film, starring Lawrence Fishburne and Idris Elba.
This unique book by Paulo Coelho has seemed very interesting, since it is a story of adventure where the action unfolds with a firm precision that prevents your reading tires you.
On the other hand, the theme in the background looks very useful since a simple escapade demonstrates the beliefs of the existence, which is founded on the destiny that is transcribed by a hand, that of Ala (according to the play).
You can differentiate the characters between all of the dissimilar sorts of temperaments among human beings. From the poor man who believes that he can never achieve his thoughts because of his poor condition (like the case of the owner of the crystal shop), and the case of the wisest person (Alchemist).