The Alchemist

The Alchemist

A Fable About Following your Dream

Book - 1998
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"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 treasures 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."--Publisher.
Publisher: New York : HarperPerennial, 1998, c1994
Edition: 1st HarperPerennial ed
Branch Call Number: FICTION COE
Characteristics: 167 p.: 21 cm


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Review: The Alchemist

A review by Teen Blogger, Hannah “...before a dream is realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lesson we’ve learned as we’ve moved towards that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up” - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist The Alchemist is the… (more)

From the critics

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Aug 14, 2020

The journey of a shepherd boy to his personal treasure lead to discover the truth about life, its happiness, motives and purposes. Highly recommend, as everything was beautifully written in simple language.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho follows a young man from Southern Spain named Santiago who travels into Egypt in search of his purpose after a dream-interpreter informed him that his destiny is at the Great Pyramids in Egypt. It is a short but beautifully written story about love, learning, and finding one’s true purpose in a world that doesn’t have to be so complicated. Paulo Coelho conveys the theme of finding one’s purpose through his powerful usage of characterization, imagery, and symbolism.
I would give The Alchemist 5 out of 5 stars for the authors choice to not waste any words or plot, and the novel’s ability to illustrate meaning out of very little text. I would also give the story bonus points for the author’s impressive usage of imagery. The short novel is good for readers that are 10 years and older as long as it is in their reading level, however, the content is suitable for all ages as it has something new to offer each time it is read.

Jul 28, 2020

The Alchemist is a mystic story about a shepherd boy named Santiago who followed his dream to find a buried treasure at the foot of the pyramids in Egypt. Along the journey, he encountered people and omens that helped him reach the treasure, but he also encountered unexpected distractions that could have led him off course. Eventually he met an alchemist; a man who could turn led into gold and had the elixir that could cure all illnesses. The alchemist taught Santiago about his inner strength that he could overcome great difficulties which led him to the buried treasure.
Although some parts of the book seemed a bit slow to get to the point, overall, it is an excellent, well written, well thought-out book that encourages readers to conquer their fears and reach for their dreams. Like Santiago, everyone has dreams. Through life, we too encounter people that can help us reach our goals. When faced with great difficulties, we must gather our inner strength to overcome, climb those mountains. Santiago fell in love with a girl and almost gave up his dream to stay with her, but the alchemist convinced him that staying with her would eventually lead to a lifetime of unhappiness wondering “what if”. This is a wonderful story of adventure and inspiration.

Jul 21, 2020

The book “The Alchemist” is about a shepherd named Santiago and his journeys to find his own “personal legend” and believing a recurring dream to be prophetic. After trying so hard to make money for months, he uses it to go on a journey. He then sets out on a journey where he meets different people and learns new things from them, for instance an alchemist. There are people who help him but there are also many distractions, in the end it’s his decision to pursue or not pursue his personal legend. Upon reflection, I think this book is good since it’s inspiring and also mythical, it displays a good point of view of life. I don’t think there was any part of this book that I disliked. I recommend this book, especially for teens because I think this book can be inspiring for them, and like the shepherd they can learn life lessons throughout the book.

Jun 29, 2020

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho awakens a repeating dream of an ordinary shepherd boy, Santiago, with the motive of achieving gold. Coehlo uses an overarching symbol: the desert. The desert serves its purpose throughout the book, in which Santiago faces many obstacles and journeys. This particular symbol represents the value of life throughout the story. Santiago has a goal to find the treasure full of gold behind the pyramids in Egypt which he dreamt of a child telling him. Santiago makes his move despite feeling that this is not his “legend” as he encounters many special and mysterious people along his path to the pyramids. Melchizedek, the King of Salem who emphasizes “Personal Legend” of Santiago, is one of the many encounters that make his way more magical and suspenseful. The King gives him stones that will indicate omens when they will happen. On Santiago’s way to the pyramids, he gets robbed and tragic events weaken his faith; but, the suspense is all about what will be the outcome. Santiago will have to preserve through his challenges to reach his dream. When I first began the book, it was ordinary to me but very soon, it made me indulged in learning about Santiago’s journey and what the author has to say. Needless to say, it was an interesting story that consisted of many mysterial and spiritual moments which the author did a fantastic job in entertaining the readers!

Jun 16, 2020

The Alchemist - Book Review
The Alchemist is a Portuguese novel published in 1988 and was later translated into English. It follows an Andalusian shepherd named Santiago as he seeks to interpret a recurring dream in a journey of self-discovery in the Arabian desert. The novel is focused on the development of Santiago’s character as the reader learns a lot about him such as his past and his desires. And the novel does this very well. Santiago is a very compelling character and the direction of the plot is perfect for him and his development. There is a clear vision that Coehlo exerts and it’s clear he has something to say about humans and what we should consider important in our lives. While some of the introductions of certain characters and decisions can be jarring at first the story presents it and then as more information is provided it makes more sense. However, it can turn off certain people but it’s ideal if the reader fully finishes the novel and understands it completely. Insightful, intuitive, and teeming with excellent character development the Alchemist is everything a reader would want in a novel with a clear vision.

Age Rating: 12 and above
5 out of 5 stars

Mar 23, 2020

The Alchemist is an "internationally bestselling phenomenon" written by British author Paulo Coelho in 1988. Studded with precious messages about the human heart and dreams, it is a must-read, especially in these success-centered, emotion-lacking times we live in.
Santiago, a shepherd boy, is launched into a quest because of a gypsy woman's, and a king's interpretations of a recurring dream he has. The boy travels from Andalusia, Spain to Africa, where he encounters his first hurdle: theft. From then on, the boy continues on through a fascinating journey filled with supernatural omens, defeats, triumphs, words of wisdom, and love.
The Alchemist is a unique work of literature in many ways. The desert landscapes and mysterious speeches evoke strong images, and there are numerous references to various religions, deities, and history that are difficult to come across in other classic novels. While its folktale-like plot may seem outdated to many, its messages about not losing touch with one's heart is a much-needed and relevant one for everyone today.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
@StarRead of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

The Alchemist is an excellent book about a boy named Santiago on a journey to the Egyptian pyramids. There, he hopes to find his so-called treasure and fulfill his Personal Legend. This book is sure to open the reader’s eyes to the wonders of the world, such as destiny and fate. My favorite aspects of this novella are the lessons the protagonist learns along his quest. Santiago learns the truth of the universe, love, and stepping outside of his comfort zone in the name of personal growth. I recommend this book to anyone with a philosophical soul. Ultimately, this is now one of my favorite books. Overall, I rate this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
@TheBookNerd of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Feb 09, 2020

+ Simple narrative and concealed allegorical meaning about self realization
- poor portrait of female character who has no independent agency or interests of her own. Be careful of the sexist undertone

Feb 09, 2020

    This "graphic version" presents the novel in a hard-cover, glossy page and full colour illustrative format --- aka "comic book" --- for ease of reading (cartoon bubble dialogue) and lack of visual imagination (colour action-figure rendering genre) one supposes; and in following the illustrative dress codes common to action-figure books, the sultry young women characters portrayed are somewhat inadequately dressed in diaphanous costumes for the time of day and the weather.

Jan 24, 2020

Amazing!! I read it twice back to back and wished I could take a highlighter to it. (I took notes instead!) a book that should be on everyone’s reading list.

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Jul 28, 2020

Sean_Exon thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 29, 2020

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Aug 25, 2018

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Aug 12, 2012

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Bluebird1298 Jun 10, 2012

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Jan 30, 2012

dancergirl111 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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Add a Quote
Oct 22, 2019

THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho is about that certain click one gets when pursuing his/her true path.

May 26, 2019

"But you don't know about love. If there hadn't been a sixth day, man would not exist; copper would always be just copper, and lead just lead. It's true that everything has its destiny, but one day that destiny will be realized. So each thing has to transform itself into something better, and to acquire a new destiny, until, someday, the Soul of the World becomes one thing only."

Aug 25, 2018

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

ArapahoeMaryA Jun 28, 2018

...wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.

We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.

ellensix Oct 09, 2015

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."
—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Jun 17, 2015

"Everyone has his or her own way of learning things," he said to himself. "His way isn't the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we are both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that."

Jun 08, 2013

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."

Jun 08, 2013

"When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."

Jul 10, 2012

What is the world's greatest lie?

"At some point in our lives we loose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate."

nataliepetagaythomas Jul 02, 2012

"The thought of a pilgrimmage to mecca is what keeps me going."

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Add a Summary
Oct 22, 2019

THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco, $18.00) is about that certain click one gets when pursuing his/her true path. Set in Saharan Africa sometime between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, it involves recognizing omens along life's journey that can be used to achieve dreams. It is about the interconnectedness of all things; the "Soul of the World" from which all things spring. It is that common bond which makes alchemy - the changing of lead to gold; adversity to opportunity - possible. Through the story's protagonist, a Spanish boy named Santiago, Coelho guides the reader through the process of recognizing opportunities that will ultimately lead one to know and trust their heart. In so doing, the author puts us in the shoes of Santiago, and himself in the role of the alchemist, although in the interconnected world of Coelho they're one and the same.

Coelho writes in Portuguese, so it's hard to judge his writing from a work that's been translated to English. But suffice to say, THE ALCHEMIST is original and thoroughly enjoyable. The author comes off a bit heavy-handed in his presentation of some concepts in the story, but bear in mind he hasn't written a novel; THE ALCHEMIST is a fable, and as such is intent on delivering the writer's truth via a platform of fiction. It's this truth - philosophy, if you will - that gives the fable weight; its characters that give it soul; a combination of both that fill it with magic. All the magic of an Arabian night.

Nonimouse Oct 03, 2010

Dreams, symbols, signs, and adventure follow the reader like echoes of ancient wise voices in "The Alchemist", a novel that combines an atmosphere of Medieval mysticism with the song of the desert. With this symbolic masterpiece Coelho states that we should not avoid our destinies, and urges people to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on Earth is the way to find "God", meaning happiness, fulfillment, and the ultimate purpose of creation.

The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy ventures in his personal, Ulysses-like journey of exploration and self-discovery, symbolically searching for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt.
Cited on:

EPLPicks_Teen Apr 06, 2010

A young Spanish shepherd boy seeks a hidden treasure, dreaming of travelling the world in search of the most extravagant riches.


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