The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: a book review

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

This seems to me the main message that one’s discover while reading this best seller book that brought the author Paulo Coelho to the spotlight.

The writing of Coelho is fluid and simple but not simplistic. Every sentence can take us far in some exotic corners of the world in the labyrinth of the mind.

The book is the story of a boy from Andalusia who has a recurring dream but little means to realize it. He goes on a trip to discover a treasure. His trip takes him from an adventure to another and from an encounter to another. But the most important discoveries the boy made are about himself. He gets to know his strengths and weaknesses. He discovers his deep soul, his fears and his will.

Coelho speaks about faith without preaching. His message is subtle and delicate. His words are full of wisdom and lessons. This book almost became a classic, a book with universal values and obvious truths.

I really liked the first chapters of the book; I found the action quite rapid and intriguing. However, when the boy arrives in the desert, the rhythm becomes slow and somehow boring, the conversations sometimes a bit eccentric. Is it a sort of a desert effect, where the time and space have no boundaries and where the impossible becomes possible? Maybe, but despite this pause, I was able to finish the book and keep a good taste of it. This is a book that can be read and reread many times and each time one can discover little treasures. One example of these beautiful lines is:

 “In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you.”

As a spiritual person from a Muslim background, I am thrilled to encounter those gorgeous gems while reading the book. It makes me feel that I am not alone in my quest for Truth. Paulo Coelho is a deeply spiritual person without preaching for one particular religion. He reminds me another author, Eric-Emmanuel Schmidt, who writes in French about similar topics. Alike Coelho, Schmidt still has the talent and skills to convey spiritual ideas with a lot of innovation and courage.

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