Book reading is a hobby to many of us. Reading books not only provides us quality time but also a food for thought. Many of us are crazyily fond of quality books and a fine piece of literature. The purpose of a book serves if we actually learn and discover something in that piece of literature. The Alchemist is a novel, written by the famous Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, in 1988. The author wrote it originally in Portuguese language. Later, it become widely translated International bestseller. Over the years, many have filmed and theatrically performed this novel.
The story follows a young shepherd Santiago and his journey to pyramids of Egypt in search of a treasure. Believing in his dream, the boy asks its meaning from a nearby fortune teller. The fortune teller infers that the dream was a prophecy. And it was to tell him that he will discover a treasure at pyramids of Egypt.
From here onwards, his journey to find the treasure starts. Early in his journey, he meets an old king who introduces him to the idea of personal legend. That is ‘what you want to achieve and accomplish’. During his journey, he meets an African man. The African man claims to take him to his destination but instead robes Santiago. Therefore, he had to work at a crystal merchant to make enough money to continue his journey. As Santiago’s journey continues, he meets an Englishman in oasis. During his stay, he meets a young pretty girl Fatima, with whom he falls in love.
Keeping up with his journey with his Englishman partner, he risks passing through the territory of warring, combatant tribes in desert. It is where he learns to cohere with ‘the soul of world’ by turning into a simoom. Finally, passing through a lot of hardships and trials, he reaches his destination. Surprisingly, there was no treasure. Instead it was present in his own town’s old church.
This seems to be an ordinary story of a boy who eventually found a hidden treasure. But for someone with deep thought and perception, this is a lesson for contemplation and self-finding. The treasure was not only the jewels and gold. But the actual treasure was what Santiago learnt through his journey. Each and every single trial and hardship was a lesson. His self-motivation to keep up his journey, despite all the hardships, to reach his journey was the actual ‘hidden treasure.’
This novel reflects that ‘when you really want something to happen, the entire universe contrives to make your wish come true’. Paulo Coelho wrote the novel in just two weeks. He stated that he was able to do so only because the story was already written ‘in his soul’. According to The New York Times, ‘the Alchemist is more self-help than a piece of literature.’ Beautifully written and expertly described, this novel is worth read for those with a good sense of literature and deep thinking.