Friday, August 1, 2014

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

"Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts."

Hmm. This was very easy to get through, given that it was a fable and written in a deceptively simplistic style. It reminded me a lot of The Little Prince, actually, which is a very good thing. It had a huge amount of themes going on, almost more well-explored than The Little Prince--or at least more expounded upon. It was incredibly deep, and really applicable to anyone. I kind of liked reading it. It's only 160 pages, so it goes fast. The writing did just enough to give a really vibrant picture--nothing too sparse or wordy. One thing that I noticed was that the author says the boy's name in the first sentence and then never again. I got through halfway reading about "the boy" thinking it was just a fable-type trope, before going back and realizing that he actually had a name. So that was a little weird. But eh, I guess it just adds to the metaphor/fable vibe. This was very well-written, too; things were exceedingly symbolic in all ways, there were a lot of subtle layers, and I never got bored. It introduced me to a lot of interesting ideas. I still like The Little Prince probably better because it's just the coolest and cutest thing ever, but this one gave it a run for its money. I give four stars. And it's at Kettleson, Sitka High, and MEHS in the adult fiction section. Yay! Except all of them are closed, so eh. Anyway.

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