The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” This, along with many others, is one of the most inspiring quotes from the book The Alchemist. Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho (pronounced co-AIL-you) became an overnight favorite to teenagers, young adults and even adults who read this book.

By 2015, marking its 25th anniversary, The Alchemist which was originally published in 1998,  has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, won 115 international prizes and awards, has been translated into 80 languages, and is still on the New York Times bestseller list today. Getting sparkling reviews from central platforms like The Washington Post, The Guardian and other such publications, The Alchemist was put on the map over night and came to be seen in every ordinary man as well as celebrated icons’ hands.

The book dictates a story about an Andalusian shepherd boy names Santiago who, heeding to a recurring dream goes to a gypsy to find out its meaning. The gypsy having told her he is destined to find a great treasure sets off to Egypt in search for it. There he comes across an alchemist and the beautiful Fatima faces adventures that change his life and his perspective towards it.

The narrative of the story is such that it creates a fantastical atmosphere for whoever reads it. The adventures and the people Santiago comes across are impeccably detailed and create a vivid imagery that pulls the readers deep into the story. The starting of the story seems a bit slow to readers who are more into dynamic reads but it creates a blissfully serene impression that is perfect for a great leisurely read. The adventures of Santiago, if nothing else, will inspire you as they make him the perfect adolescent protagonist of this generation who is brave and ambitious but at the same time struggles with realistic life choices and associated dilemmas. Although the entire story is veiled by subtle allusion of fantastical prince and princesses, the underlying reality that connects the fantasy with reality is quite stark.

Overall, it is a great leisurely read that challenges perceptions and priorities, and at the same time inspires its readers.