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May 20, 2024

Paulo Coelho's
The Alchemist
Book Review

Paulo Coelho THE ALCHEMIST Book Review



Translated in to more than 60 International languages.

A Magical Fable About Following Your Dream

  • 166 pages
  • By Paulo Coelho
  • ISBN: 81-7223-498-8
  • Published by HarperCollins Publishers India(ith The India Today Group)
  • First Print: in 1988 by Editora Roco
  • Published: Thirty Eighth impression 2006
  • Category: FICTION
  • Special Price: $ 5.47
  • Cover Price: $ 8.37

Buy In India online for As low as Rs. 134.55.

I bought this book from Crossword Book Store, Powai, Mumbai for Rs. 195/-

Note: If you are planning to gift this book to somebody, wait!!! chances are very much that this book is already read by him. This is very famous book in readers community.

Completed writing this reviiew on 08-July-2007.

Book summary

This is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him. This story teaches us, as only few can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read omens strewn along life's path and above all following our dreams.

Some of the book pages are freely available here click here

Interview with Paulo Coelho as mentioned in the book click here

Good Information on the book click here

Review Comments:

What is Good

  • Whole story is so nicely thought over, it shows great knowledge and skill of author in binding Fiction with Facts.
  • It helps you understand the basics of Alchemy.
  • It teaches you that there is soul of world and everyone has got destiny.

What is not Good

  • The arrangement of content is quite clumsy. There are just three sections, Part one Part two and epilogue. It is difficult if you would like to search for some reference. (Below I've tried to create the logical point index of the book for search of section and reference purpose)
  • Characters are not referenced with their name enough. Santiago the lead character is referenced once with his name in the begining. Rest of the book says boy and he. This sometimes creates confusion who is say this.
  • Some moments of climax are written very short and not detailed enough. War of Oasis with Tribals is not talked enough. After the event of boy reaching pyramids story jumps to Spain in epilogue so fast.

Who will like this book

  • This book is not targetted towards any age. All the age groups will like this.
  • Who believe and practise spirituality
  • Who wants to understand their own heart and follow their dreams
  • People of Spain, Egypt

An inspiring video of The Alchemist


Notes for Recall

Section Description Page Number
1 Santiago lived as shephered in Spain and knew everything how to raise sheeps and shear them. He waited to see the Merchants daughter for a year. On they way he sees a dream and wants explaination from gypsy. 1-10
2 Boy visits gypsy for explaination of his dream and comes to know that hidden treasure is waiting for him in Egypt near the pyramids. Gypsy gets assurance from him for tenth of treasure for dream explaination. He try to ignore that but gets motivated by Melchizedek King Salem in the Plaza. He determines that he will go ahead and look for his treasure. He gives six of his sheeps to King for directions. King gifts him two precious stones Urim and Thummim which will help boy when he is unable to read the omens. 11- 32
3 Boy lands in Africa and finds himself in the streets of Tangier. He realizes that Pyramids are going to take days of journey and money to cross the Sahara desert. He met with Spanish speaking boy who assured that will help him cross the sahara and drop him till Pyramids. But he betrayed him and took all his money for the reason to by camels. By this time Santiago was looser without any money to return or survive for food. 32-37
4 Boy learns to live in those conditions and starts to work for Crystal merchant. Crystal Merchant's business was not doing so good because it was located on the hilly street. Boy realizes that even if he works very hard for year he could not collect enough money to go to Egypt, but he had no choice. 38-45
5 Boy was selling crystals better than ever as if time had turned back to old days. Boy with his innovative ideas of making display and selling tea in crystal glasses started making lot of more money.The business grew and he have to hire two more employees. After 11 months and 9 days of arriving at africa he takes blessings of Crystal Merchant and starts his journey for Egypt. By this time boy had learned to converse in Arabic. 46-60
6 Boy joins huge caravan which was going to cross Sahara and pass through Al Fayoum. Boy meets an Eglishmen in Caravan who spent most of his time with his books. While caravan was already in the desert they come to know about tribal wars. Englishman shared his knowledge he gathered in years of reading Alchemy, Elixir of life and Phillosopher's Stone. Englishman wished to see Alchemist who was available in Oasis of Al Fayoum. After reaching Oasis Santiago helps Englishman by asking about Alchemist from a girl on the well. Thats how this spanish shepherd boy meets Fatima. 61-89
7 Boy falls in love with Fatima and tels everything what happened to his life and why he is there. He wanted to marry her and do not further look for treasure. Fatima realizes that Boy is the gift of desert she is expecting from her childhood. But Boy has to wait since tribal wars can be fatal in journey to Egypt. 89-94
8 Boy watches hawks as they drifted on the wind and then one of the hawk made a flashing dive through the sky, attacking other. A fleeting image came to the boy: an army, with its swords at the ready, riding into the oasis. The Boy approaches chieftains to tell them about this omen. After many discussions oasis decides to prepare for the tribal attack. During this time he meets Alchemist he was looking. Alchemist invites boy to meet if he is saved from tribal attack. Five hundred tribesman attacked Al Fayoum which was defended with a great plan. The boy was presented with fifty pieces of gold and offered to become the counselor of the oasis. 94-108
9 Boy visits the Alchemist to know more about his treasure. Alchemist tests the boy when he says he understands language of omens and finds life in the desert. Alchemist recommends boy to sell the camel and buy a horse to march for the pyramids. When boy says he believes he has already found the treasure. He has earned enough from crystal merchant, awarded fifty pieces of gold from oasis chieftains and he has found his love in Fatima a desert woman. Alchemist tells him how he will loose his ability to interpret omens by not obeying them. Boy decides to pursue his destiney and meets Fatima to assure his comeback. 109-118
10 Alchemist and boy begin their journey for treasure. This journey turns to be learning for the boy. He cultivates the language of omens and relizes the sould of the world. On the way they meet three armed tribesman. three of the arabs laughed at the explaination of the alchemist for what he was carrying and allowed them to proceed. Boy learns about alchemists capability to turn lead into gold, but he is not shown how it is achived. 119-131
11 Boy's heard sound danger signal and after some time they were arrested by tribesmen dressed in blue, with black rings surrounding their turbans. To protect from the situation Alchemist gives away all the earnings and gold to chief and presents boy as alchemist who can turn into wind. He took three days for boy for preparation to convert into wind. This is the time when boy feels threat of death and becomes more aware of his live. On third day he learns to speak with wind, desert and sun. With this they get released and escorted till they reach close to pyramids. 131-146
12 Alchemist and boy visit the Coptic monastery and witness some alchemy of converting lead into gold infront of Monk. Alchemist makes four part of gold and gives one part to boy for loss of his belongings at tribesmen. One to Monk and one he keeps with himself. remaining piece is kept at Monk in case boy needs it. From here the boy is on his own and goes to pyramids where he meets refugees of tribal war. These men take away his gold and leaves him with lesson. 146-155
13 Here is the climax of the whole story which I wont write and let you read the book to enjoy - Epilogue 159-161

The merchant was silent for a few moments, then he said, "The Prophet gave us the Kuran, and left us just five obligations to stisfy during our lives. The most important is to believe only in the one true God. The others are to pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, and be charitable to the poor". "The fifth obligation of every muslim is a pilgrimage. We are obliged at least once in our lives, to visit the holy city of Mecca.

"Isn't wine prohibited here?" the boy asked.
"It's not what enters men's mouths that's evil," said the alchemist. "It's what comes out of their mouths that is."


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