- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne; Anniversary edition (April 15, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062315005
- ISBN-13: 978-0062315007
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12,385 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Alchemist Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 15, 2014
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From the Publisher
Paulo Coelho Discusses the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Alchemist
What originally inspired you to write The Alchemist? Coelho: My dream was to be a writer. I wrote my first book in 1987, The Pilgrimage, after completing my own personal pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. After that I thought, “Why did it take me so long to fulfill my dream?” So I decided to write a metaphor, and this metaphor is The Alchemist: a novel about someone who needs to fulfill his or her dream, but takes too long because he or she thinks it’s impossible. The Alchemist has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, won 115 international prizes and awards, has been translated into 80 languages, and is still on the New York Times bestseller list today, 25 years after its initial publication. What impact has this success had on your life? Coelho: Of course The Alchemist opened a lot of doors for me. At the moment I’m answering this question, the novel is still on The New York Times bestseller list. But success did not happen overnight, so I had time to get used to it. The book was not something that exploded all of a sudden. I believe success can be a blessing, and it can also be a curse. I was older when the recognition came, so I had another level of maturity to face that change. When it happened, I remember thinking, “My God, this is a blessing. ' So above all, I had to respect it. And the way to respect it is to really understand that a blessing has no explanation, but needs to be treasured and honored. Do you closely relate to any of the characters in The Alchemist? If so, how? Coelho: In The Alchemist, I relate myself to the Englishman - someone who is trying to understand life through books. It’s quite interesting how many times we use books to understand life. I think that a book is a catalyst: it provokes a reaction. I am a compulsive reader. I read a lot, but from time to time, there are books that changed my life. Well, it’s not that the book itself changed my life; it’s that I was already ready to change, and needed to not feel alone. The same thing happens with the Englishman in The Alchemist. What have you discovered about your own personal destiny in the past 25 years since writing The Alchemist? Coelho: What I learned after writing The Alchemist, after the worldwide success, is basically that I had a dream, a Personal Legend to fulfill. To be a writer is to write. To write means new books. New books mean new challenges. Of course, I could have stopped with The Alchemist a long time ago if I was only in it for money, but I really love what I do. I can’t see myself not writing. It’s not always an easy task, sometimes it’s very challenging, but this is what I do and this is what I like. So the journey itself is the miracle; it is the blessing. There is no point to reach. You have to travel your journey with joy, hope, and challenges in your heart. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans? Coelho: To my readers and my fans, basically my companions, I would say that spirituality is being brave, is taking risks, is daring to do something when people are always telling you not to. My parents, for example, did not want me to be a writer, and that’s why it took so long for me to fulfill my dream. But here I am, thanks to that moment after my pilgrimage from France to Spain, when I said to myself, 'I can’t live with a dream that I did not even try to fulfill. ' Do the same thing.
“It’s a brilliant, magical, life-changing book that continues to blow my mind with its lessons. [...] A remarkable tome.” (NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, ACTOR)
“it changed my whole life. I realized of all of the people who had conspired to get me to this place.” (PHARRELL WILLIAMS, MUSICIAN AND SONG-WRITER)
“A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be.” (M. Scott Peck)
“An adventure story full of magic and wisdom.” (Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima)
“A touching, inspiring fable.” (Indianapolis Star)
“A magical little volume.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“[This] Brazilian wizard makes books disappear from stores.” (New York Times)
“[His] books have had a life-enchanting effect on millions of people.” (London Times)
“A beautiful story with a pointed message for every reader.” (Joseph Girzone, author of Joshua)
“As memorable and meaningful as Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.” (Austin American-Statesman)
From the Back Cover
Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
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Oh man, was that a mistake. It didn't do any of those things (and apparently kids these days don't actually read their summer reading, what a shame). Instead, I fell deeply in love with this book and have read it three times in the last two years. It's the kind of book that works on more than one level - you have your hero who goes on an adventure, learning from a wise mentor, hitting roadblocks, coming to know himself and the world around him before realizing that his true treasure was in himself all along, and if that's all you get out of the book, then that's fine, but there's more going on here.
The difficulty of the book is figuring out what that more is. The book constantly suggests and hints at lessons that seem at once a comment on ethics and metaphysics, history and anthropology, post-colonialist critique and folk fairy tale. Biblical allusions abound next to Islamic lessons on the nature of God while institutions and mysticism are equally likely to be evoked and revoked. There's always the sense as you read that there is something lingering under the surface, but the minute that you try to grab it (or write it in a review) it seems to disappear.
That seems to be the point of the book, that the message is clear if you read it without trying to grab it. Hold it loosely and it comes easily, try to describe it and it flits away. The book is allusive; it works on you without seeming to, and at the end you're left both satisfied as the adventure concludes and also wanting more, or perhaps wanting to do more. Perhaps that's why I like this book so much - it doesn't yield its secrets easily, or perhaps it yields it too easily, and you finish wondering where your heart and your treasure lie and what your personal legend might be. I imagine that this book might say more about its reader than its text: when you know your own heart and your own journey well enough, perhaps this will only remain a passing, although enjoyable fairy tale.
I'm not done reading it yet, but when I started. I read like the first 80 pages nonstop. Really soak in the message and lessons. I can't wait to finish this book.
So, I finally finished the book. And wow, never would have I thought, a book would have such an impact on me. It's a simple tale but filled with lessons if you are seeking it. I read it in like 3 sittings. I'm not much of a reader and just starting to appreciate it, and I am glad this was one of the books I read. Love it.
A few weeks ago I took my mother to a dental appointment and opened my Kindle to see what I had available while I waited. I decided to give this book another try and started from the beginning, as I couldn't remember anything from what I read previously. I'm not sure what was different this time around, but I was completely engrossed and my 2 hour wait flew by! I continued to read whenever I found a chance and finished it within a few days. I now find myself constantly thinking of the story and relating it to my own life, as well as my friends and family.
It's a short and very simple story, but definitely worth reading!
The vendor that I purchased from, Bullet's' Bonanza's, was extremely kind and professional, including a personal note in the package. I would gladly do business with them again.