Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My thoughts on The Alchemist

There should be a tutorial on how to start your blog post, because that's what I find most difficult when writing about the books I've read.

I don't like to just start with what I think, but it's not easy to come up with an casual introduction. Well, sometimes you don't need no introductions.
Paulo Coelho understood that perfectly well when he wrote The Alchemist.
Luckily, in my opinion, because the novel itself is just a whisper of a novel, already over when you're just opening it.
But don't get me wrong, it isn't less powerful because it doesn't propagate it's content on 300+ pages, it's beautiful that so much can be contained in a novel of barely a hundred pages.

The Alchemist is about a young shepherd who wants to see the world. He travels around with his sheep and we catch him on a day when he is looking forward to seeing a particular young woman again, who he hasn't seen in a year.
While he travels to this andalusian town he shortly describes how he came to be where he is now and why the girl is so special to him.
Got any expectations yet?
Well, get rid of them right away, it ain't gonna happen.

When Santiago, more often referred to as the boy than not, gets at his destination he is side-tracked immediately, because he goes to see a gypsy about a recurring dream he had.
Somehow he doesn't have to pay for his consult but he promises her a tenth of a treasure he might find at the pyramids of Egypt.

Didn't expect that, did you?

What follows is a journey to this fabled treasure and along the way Santiago learns to become whole. It's as much an actual journey as he is journeying inwardly, learning to understand the world around him. It's a coming of age in a particular spiritual manner which I found a comfort to read, albeit a bit too much on the religious side.

Like I said, it doesn't take long to finish, but it's not like you breeze through it. The novel makes you think, it makes you doubt some parts of your own life and especially it makes you wish you hadn't abandoned certain dreams you had.

It offered a lot of wise quotes, some a bit worn but still ringing true.

and my particular favourite:

Please read it if you can, you won't regret it.