August 23, 2010

Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" - Provides a Recipe for Cleansing the Soul.

I was impressed by "The Alchemist"s reputation as the 'most translated book by a living author'; one which has been translated into 56 languages since the time it was written in Portuguese by Paulo Coelho in 1988. "The Alchemist" is a fairly short, feel-good read, that I managed to start and finish on my return flight to the USA.

The novel is about the journey of young Santiago, searching for a treasure that is going to change his life. There is an aura of mysticism and traces of Sufi thought that Coelho often draws upon to explain some of the events that confront Santiago along the way. For Santiago, as for the reader, the plot of the novel provides for introspection, both of who delve into their inner being and question their actions and the outcomes thereof. Somehow, this reminded me of Richard Bach's allegorical novel, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull", though, unlike "The Alchemist", I really liked Bach's novel. Given the metaphorical and philosophical nature of Coelho's novel, the plot appears incidental at times. For me, this was a dampener. An engaging plot-line is, perhaps, the mainstay of any great fiction, and the plot of "The Alchemist" did come loose to accommodate certain profundities that Coelho wanted to include in his soup-for-the-soul writing.

Paul Coelho is a highly acclaimed writer, and my post does not mean to take away from that; I may not have enjoyed this book as much due to a timing issue: I may have read The Alchemist at a time when life felt fair, and my motivation levels were pretty high. The novel may be a perfect read for some,one who is at a low ebb and feels the need for a motivational booster. "The Alchemist" is about finding oneself, and, even though not a trend setter in any way, does provide manna for lost or demotivated souls.


Nandi23 said...

I do not know if you have read 'Veronika decides to die' but I think that these two novels actually complete each other, its difficult to explain.
I loved this novel, its one that I keep near me where a random passage can soothe the soul.

Id it is said...

I haven't read this one, but I definitely will check it out now :)
The fact that it 'can soothe the soul' could make it very attractive...

EYE said...

Yes, he is a great writer and the Alchemist is so inspiring and beautiful... My favourite is The Devil and Ms Prym. It is a gripping novel about the ideas of good and evil in this world.

rambo12 said...

Really a nice post.

Cubano said...

I am planning on getting a copy of this tomorrow. Thanks for pointing it out.

ReadnRyte said... you, I felt underwhelmed by 'The Alchemist' and each of his subsequent books have been disappointing to say the least. I think, he began to believe in the hyperbole that was been projected about him been some kind of salve to modern day emotional blankness...and he started churning out book after book about some mumbo jumbo spirituality.
I am not slating was a good book, that's about it. In no way did it reach the heights of JLS..which stood as a meatphor for what our lives have become.
Hvaing said that..I think 'Alchemist' and 'Vernonika...' are his better bigs.
You have a gift...keep writing.

Anonymous said...

i'm from Algeria.i just started to read it and believe me i was depressed and lost ! cause i didn't really know what or why alot of thgs was happening to me... this book showed me so manythg ! i mean i wish i'll face Paulo oneday and thank him for all that.