fiction, review

The Alchemist

Among so many motivating books out there, The Alchemist is surely one of the most standout. It’s been bestseller everywhere and translated into so many languages. Looking at its core idea, it’s no wonder that this book has been very much successful. What book can sell better than a book about reaching dreams? People of any nations, any countries, any ages and genders are all dreaming a dream. This book is just perfect for anyone, with a strong narrative and a fictional yet earthly ordinary character everyone can find inside themselves.

That character is Santiago, a shepherd wandering around Andalusia taking care of his sheep. He only wants to be a wanderer, travelling to every corner of the world, and being a shepherd is just the best job to serve his purpose. One night, Santiago has a sudden dream, and later that dream ceaselessly comes to him several nights in a row. Having seen a fortune-teller and a mysterious king, Santiago realizes that he has to pursue his dream to Egypt, finding a treasure near the Pyramids. His journey is not without let nor hindrance, and it’s inevitably laced with some bewildering happenings and signs… leading him to the actual path towards his dream.

During his journey, Santiago feels hesitated at times, thinking what he has up to that point of his life has been enough for him. He almost gives up then and there, but the voices at the back of his mind tell him to go on with his steps. He then decides, and is determined, to listen to those voices and keep pursuing his dream even though he still often believes it’s unreal.

The way Coelho tells his story is so surreal, like a fantasy fairy tale. It mixes what’s real and what’s not. It is, in my opinion, in itself reflecting the dream/reality world Santiago stepping on, a world where a dream is the aim of our real life. Its packed plot doesn’t allow the story to be nonsensically dragging on and on, and it ends at just the right spot. The Alchemist is unarguably encouraging, driving and moving. It somehow forces you to have faith, to believe in God, and to take a step. Aside from everything, I am particularly, most subjectively, glad with how Coelho describes Islam and the Muslims here. While others are usually being offensive, Coelho tries to present Islam without hostility.

So, The Alchemist is, to me, a highly recommended book to everyone. I do believe that this book will remain standout for some more years in the future. It may be just another motivating book, but with all its unlike-any-other features, The Alchemist will not be forgotten easily.

Rating: 3.5/5

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