• Book: The Alchemist
  • Author: Paulo Coelho
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Year of Release: 1988
  • Read 167-page paperback edition in October 2012.

Book Description: This short novel follows the life of Santiago, a young shepherd boy who leaves his traditional life of repetition to follow a strange dream across the Egyptian desert.  Along the way, he encounters an array of fascinating characters, some of which help him continue his quest.  As well, many obstacles stand between Santiago and the end of his adventure.

Book Review: This novel written by Brazilian Paulo Coelho is a masterful work, with an intricate and mysterious story of myth and fantasy, but intertwining with moral issues and the sense of seeking wisdom and purpose in life, subjects we can all relate to.  Coelho has written the main character in a very intimate way, so the reader can quickly understand exactly what Santiago is thinking and feeling.  When problems are encountered, one really feels for the character, and you read the unfolding plot with a true interest in what will happen to him.  Coelho has also done a nice job of inserting an array of other characters into the story.  One downside to the story is that it is too short, and often we are left with questions of who these supporting characters are, and what there background really is.  While Coelho may have done this to keep focus on Santiago, and to keep the mystery level of the story high, we sometimes have that feeling of reading a rushed story. However, this is a minor issue, and usually a book that makes the reader want more information like this one is the sign of a truly wonderful book!  This novel was truly a fascinating and mysterious read, and Coelho’s excellent descriptions made us not only feel like we knew the main character, but also made us feel like we were with him in the windy desert.  The story was an excellent exploration of inner discovery, and the conclusion was expertly written, with a very nice twist at the end to wrap up the final questions of where Santiago was going.  Overall, The Alchemist is a truly excellent book, and a delight to read.  Well Done!

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5