The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

ImageI read Paulo Coelho‘s The Alchemist inside two days. (Apparently the author also has written the entire book inside two days.) It is a short but inspirational novel written by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. It was first published in 1988 and originally written in Portuguese. As of September 2012 it has been translated into 56 languages and sold 30 million copies worldwide.

The book is about a young Andalusian shepherd called Santiago who tries to go after the treasure shown to him in a recurring dream. He first dreams of marrying a merchant’s daughter and in his trip to pyramids in Egypt, he meets an Arabian beauty and he immediately falls in love with her. She also reciprocates his love. Santiago continues his journey to the pyramids and meets with many a danger on the way and even at the pyramids. Since he holds onto his dream till the last moment and he finally gets the desired treasure and returns to his love.

More than the literature value, the book is admired by positive thinking promoters as an inspirational story to go for one’s destiny without waiting for it to happen. The book says how “omens” help one reach the ultimate goal.

To be honest, I am bewildered as to why the book got this much of a hype and what is so special about it? But nobody wants to criticize the book as everybody seems to treat it as a sacred cow I guess.

The only one notable person I saw treating the book rather sarcastically was Malala Yousafzai. She wrote, “Someone gave me a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, a fable about a shepherd boy who travels to the Pyramids in search of treasure when all the time it’s at home. I loved that book and read it over and over again. ‘When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it,’ it says. I don’t think that Paulo Coelho had come across the Taliban or our useless politicians.” Source: