Customer Review

298 of 344 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Parable, June 21, 2006
This review is from: The Alchemist (Paperback)
More parable than novel, "The Alchemist" uses the story of young shepherd Santiago's search for his Personal Legend as an allegory for everyman's struggle to break from the comfortable confines of conformity and pursue his life dreams. Along the way, of course, our young everyman is beset by all manner of setbacks, testing his resolve and forcing him to become attuned to the Soul of the World in order to survive. By paying attention to the details in the world around him, which serve as omens guiding him towards his goal, young Santiago becomes an alchemist in his own right, spinning unfavorable circumstances into riches.

Aside from the ubiquitous theme about the power of perseverance, my favorite part of the book was its glorification of simplicity. Like the pared-down manner in which the story is presented, Santiago's rare ability to get in touch with the Soul of the World comes not from the procedures described in arcane tomes pursued by traditional alchemists, but rather from a simple honesty and observance of the workings of the world. While the lack of character or plot complexity precludes this minimalist work from being considered a great novel, it will be a satisfying read for those seeking inspiration of the purest sort.

-Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 2, 2007 1:14:22 PM PDT
The review helped me understanding the contents of the novel or novella and make an informed decision on whether or not to buy it. I also appreciated Mr. Joseph's balanced and thoughtful review. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2007 6:26:31 PM PDT
Kevin Joseph says:
Thanks, Branken. I put a fair amount of thought into my reviews, and it's good to hear that they sometimes assist people in making informed buying choices.

Posted on May 11, 2009 9:38:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 11, 2009 9:42:17 PM PDT
Gandhi says:
Probably those living in USA or partly also in other rich countries may not appreciate the message in Paulo's book, as well as those from underdeveloped country. In poor contry things are different there is constant struggle and agony while living the honest life.

Posted on Aug 2, 2009 7:00:27 AM PDT
Sarah says:
"Santiago's rare ability to get in touch with the Soul of the World comes not from the procedures described in arcane tomes pursued by traditional alchemists, but rather from a simple honesty and observance of the workings of the world."

Actually, this is exactly how the ancient alchemists described the most important aspect of the work. The physical transformation in the alembic was but a reflection of the spiritual transformation of the person doing the work. Coehlo is saying nothing new, merely creating a beautiful story out of a principle that has been around for thousands of years.

Posted on Feb 21, 2010 3:59:54 PM PST
Marie Hall says:
This was one of the worst books I have ever read. It actually seemed like the ramblings of a child inventing some fairy tale. It included God, Jesus, Allah, Joseph of Egypt and the Messianic figure called the Alchemist.
Save your time on this one.

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 6:50:10 PM PDT
C. MARIN says:
I think this is a really accurate portrayal of this book. If you are looking for a novel with heavily developed characters and a twisting plot, this isn't going to make you happy. But it is exactly as the reviewer described: a minimalist parable that is inspirational and thought provoking.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 8:42:07 PM PDT
Tyler P says:
Helped me decide if i wanted to buy this book.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 8:41:38 PM PDT
roxi says:
Mary Hall, you are so right, this book is so dumb. I heard about it and have heard about the author so I was curious. You capture the essence of how bad and convuluted this story and 'teachings" are. Thanks for sharing.

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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2013 11:28:52 PM PDT
«Beyond the Alchemist", "Beyond any Manuscript"
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