The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
Last night, I finished reading "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. Ok, I know you can't believe I only read it now, everyone already said that to me, and looked at me in that weird way as if I was living on Mars for the last few years. But well, I only got to read it now, and I totally loved it. A friend of mine told me a few days ago when I started reading "The Alchemist" that it was the kind of book that would either change your life or change your conception of things. Well, he was right, it did both to me.
This is a really light yet important read, which is very well written and extremely inspirational. As I read in a review somewhere, this book is deceptively simple, yet its ideas are deep ones. This book came to me in a crossroad in my life, and revived my will to pursue my dreams and bring them to reality. The book talks about our dreams, how the universe gives us omens all the time about how we should follow our dreams and conspires to help us realize them; this book was such an omen for me. I realize now why everyone who reads this book falls in love with Paulo Coelho's style and starts reading all his other books. His writing style is beautiful and smooth, and his ideas are clear and powerful. I think I'll be doing the same thing too. My rating for this book would be: 9.5/10. Plot summary
Santiago, the protagonist, grows up with poor parents who struggled their whole lives to send him to seminary. But Santiago has a strong desire to travel the world, and so his father gives him three ancient Spanish coins to buy a flock of sheep. As a shepherd, he spends several years traveling the countryside of Andalusia in southern Spain, enjoying the care-free and adventurous life of a wanderer. As the story begins, we learn that a year ago Santiago met the beautiful daughter of a merchant in a town he is soon to revisit. Even though he spent only a few hours talking with this girl, his strong feelings for her make him question his life as a shepherd and make him consider the merits of a more settled life. He sleeps in a church where a sycamore tree grew where the sacristy once was (refer to end). When he arrives in the Tarifa, the port before the town where the girl lives, he first decides to go to a gypsy fortune-teller to help him decipher a recurring dream that he had been having. Santiago dreamt twice that a child is playing with his sheep and then takes him by the hand and brings him to the Pyramids of Egypt to show him the location of a hidden treasure. But Santiago always wakes up just before the child is going to reveal to him the exact location of the treasure. The gypsy says that he has to go because if it is a child that tells, it exists. At first, the boy does not mind what the gypsy says, but when an old man, who calls himself Melchizedeck, the king of Salem, tells him that it is his Personal Legend or his purpose to live, he is interested. Melchizedeck tells him a wonderful story about a man who found true happiness by fulfilling his Personal Legend. The king gives the boy two stones, Urim and Thurim, one black and the other white, the black meaning "yes" and the white "no". These, he says, are for making decisions, although it is best to make them himself. Santiago decides to travel to Africa. He sells his sheep and goes to Tangier, a port in Africa near Spain. But in Tangier, he is robbed. Losing hope, he decides to walk about the city; up in a hill, and finds a crystal shop. When the boy enters the shop, he cleans the dusty crystal glasses in exchange for some food to eat. As he is cleaning two customers enter the store and buy some crystal glasses. The Arab merchant says that it is a good omen, as business had declined and the boy had attracted two customers, and hires the boy. Santiago learns that every person's fate is written, and that there is a Language of the World (unspoken) learned partly by his dealings with his sheep. After almost a year, the boy decides to...
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