The Alchemist

     Once I was travelling by train and I picked a bookpaulo-coelho-the-alchemist-books-cover-designs ‘‘The Alchemist’ up as it was left on the empty seat. I had something interesting telepathy.  Before that I neither heard about The Alchemist nor the author Paulo Coelho.

The Alchemist is ‘‘a fable about following your dream’’ originally written in Portuguese language (O Alquimista) in just two-week by Brazilian born  author Paulo Coelho. When I was going through the author’s note, the words ‘‘each man kills the thing he loves’’ dragged me to complete reading the book. The famous book The Alchemist has been translated into 71 languages worldwide, 65 million copies have been sold. What is the secret behind such a huge success! ‘‘I don’t  know’’ author said very honestly. Probably that must be ‘a fable about following dream’ or Fatima who knows the ‘‘language of desert’’. Oh! no no. Fatima, a well-off daughter of the merchant, is just a part of shepherd boy’s dream- ‘‘the child took me by both hands and transported me to the Egyptian pyramid and said – if you come here, you will find a hidden treasure’’.

Once an honest man had a dream which the Alchemist shares to Santiago- ‘‘ …..While a man was asked by the angel to ask whatever he want. But he asked nothing and replied-  ‘‘….Any father would be proud of the fame achieved by one whom he had cared for as a child, and educated as he grew up’’( P149)…. the man wept with happiness and said again to the Angel through his tears- ‘‘can you please tell me which of my son’s poem these people are repeating’’ (P150)

The boy ( santiago) continue digging for treasure but found nothing and he felt his death was near. ‘‘ What good is money to you if you’re going to die? (P154). Meanwhile the leader said ‘‘you (Santiago) are not going to die… I dreamed that I should travel to the field of Spain and look for a ruin church where shepherds and their sheep slept, In my dream, there is a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that, if I dug at the roots of sycamore, I would find a hidden treasure…’’ Then he knows where the treasure is. Hence the story of shepherd boy ends at the point of origin after long journey.

Only those who finds life, find treasures 

Santiago an Andalusian (Spain) young shepherd is the main character of the novel travel to Egypt, after having a dream of finding treasure there. Santiago falls in love with Fatima. She is a beautiful girl who is another character of the novel. Among the other characters Melchizedek is a mysterious king of Salem who gives Santiago the magical stones Urim and Thummim. The Shopkeeper is a kind man gives Santiago a job in Tangiers after he has been robbed. The Englishman lends Santiago his books while they travel across the Sahara. Santiago learns much about alchemy from the Englishman. The Alchemist lives at the al-Fayoum oasis in Egypt. The Alchemist is also in possession of the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher’s Stone. And The Monk who tries to refuse presenting gold.

The novelist Paulo Coelho claims that the story of The Alchemist was “already written in his soul” by which he was inspired. The book’s main theme is about finding one’s destiny. An old king Melchizedek tells Santiago, “When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true”. This is the core of the novel’s philosophy.

A catholic author Paulo Coelho believes on ‘re-birth’ but only in ‘good name’ as it is titled for his ‘good work’, and also believes on ”all religion have the same end”.

Coelho said he has been reluctant in selling rights to his books The Alchemist. He believes that a book has a “life of its own inside the reader’s mind”.

Coelho is regarded as the world’s most translated living author (Guinness Book 2009).

 The novel was labelled by few to be a fable and so spiritual. However I was impressed to go through his  another novel Eleven Minute as well.

© Jesi


Audio Book (YouTube)


The programme A conversation with Malala was organised by World Bank is interesting one where Malala, 16 years Muslim girl, answered the name of the book  The Alchemist she likes most. (the talk about books starts after 34 minute)

A Conversation with Malala


10 thoughts on “The Alchemist

  1. The clip is no longer available, but it is one of my favourite books and I can understand why Malala, who is one of my favourite people, loves this book too. For too long we have been relying of money to make us happy, whereas a money (cost of living) is just the bottom line. This allegorical book just slaps you round the head and gets you thinking. I started reading more of his books, but this is my favourite one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. INCOMESCO / Jesi 12/09/2015 — 9:36 am

      Thank you, Initially I didn’t know much about the author and his books but when suddenly I found and went through then I realised the magnetic power of Alchemist. So now I am fond of reading from the same author. Did you read his another book Eleven minute as well?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I read about 4 of his books, but liked The Alchemist best – probably because I lived in Andalusia for a while or maybe because it was the first of his that I read. I love allegory – Did you real Yan Mantel’s “The Life of Pi”? I loved it and put it in my top list, but so many of my colleagues didn’t seem to get it.


        1. INCOMESCO / Jesi 13/09/2015 — 6:51 am

          Wow, You lived in Andalusia ! That’s really amazing place. I never been there but due to the description and story of the book I really inspired to go to Andalusia at least once in my life.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s a lot more built up now than the Andalusia he described in the book – You would need to head much further inland – North of Granada. It was truly the garden of Spain.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. INCOMESCO / Jesi 13/09/2015 — 12:52 pm

              Thank you for the information. If I am heading any time soon, not before coming summer, those info will be healpful. By the way I tried to find your name to call you but didn’t find, would you mind telling me your name ?


              1. I’m afraid I am just known as Southampton Old Lady. I find I write more honestly about everything if I am anonymous and never meet up or talk on the phone with anyone I talk to online. No offence. I am just old fashioned.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. INCOMESCO / Jesi 14/09/2015 — 11:22 pm

                  Thank you for the reply. I really appreciate your honesty. You are so kind.

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. Aley James Delay 18/11/2018 — 4:22 pm

    Thank you so much for suggest me to another great book to read in free time.
    is this link is right to download this book? i think they provides this book free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jesi | INCOMESCO 18/11/2018 — 8:47 pm

      Thank you! 🙂 but I haven’t tried the links, I red a book.


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