“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

Paths are carved to be followed, aims are built to be accomplished, sin is supposed to be repelled, virtue is supposed to be practised, opinions are meant to be respected, hope is meant to be rare, life is meant to be lived, dreams are dreamt to be re-lived and destiny is meant to be pursued. Those who can hear the sounds of their heart and listen to the words of objects know the Soul of the World. Everything that exists is a sign of the One who has Created all of it, the Creator.

There is a language that the unspoken speak of, it must be heard but don’t misunderstand that it is meant to be heard with ears, the winds take with them the sounds of innumerable places we are deaf to them for remember, physicality descends where spirituality ascends. We as humans tend to rely a lot upon physicality when it is almost insignificant if regarded with the phenomenon of living life because we think life is physical but it is yonder from that meaning, it is spiritual. We all know deep down inside in the core of our body, somewhere where consciousness and subconsciousness collides what our destiny is or what we were sent here to do.

Whatever our purpose of existence might be, the main gist of existentialism doesn’t alter. Either we live life with a purpose, an aim or a goal or we don’t and there is nothing wrong with either options for life is lived differently by every individual. Not everyone has the same interests, or goals, or aims, or fate or destinies but destinies do intertwine. We meet new people, we make new friends, we change faiths, we change perceptions and we move on and start new relationships. Regardless we never know with whom our destiny shall entwine for destiny is an anonymous writer.

There are those who spend all of their life in the comforts that life has to offer and then there are those who journey and travel to discover the meaning of their existence following their boundless destiny and saying farewells and hellos wherever they tread. These people surely understand the unsaid Language of the World and they leave this universe with a peaceful grin and a tranquil heart just like everyone does. These people transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and try to exceed their limits. These are known as the Alchemists.

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Picture Courtesy: exlibris

The Author, Plot and More Information

The Alchemist is written by the renowned Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho. Paulo Coelho was born in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro and before he started full-time writing he used to be a theater director, actor, lyricist and journalist. By the end of 1900 he published The Alchemist which was originally written in his native language Portuguese but it soon became a national bestseller and was translated in numerous languages. It was translated into English by Alan R. Clarke. It is a world-wide phenomenon selling more than at least 65 million copies globally.

The main characters of the story include:

  • Santiago, a shepherd boy from Andalusia
  • The Alchemist

The main plot of the novel revolves around the protagonist, Santiago who is a shepherd boy from Andalusia and who starts seeing these dreams of him finding a concealed treasure in the Great Pyramids of Egypt. He incessantly sees these dreams and thus decides to pursue it as his final destiny, his aim for entering in this world. He sells his herd of sheep and gets enough money to travel to Egypt where a fraudulent native steals his money and he has nothing left to make his way to the Great Pyramids.

Anyways he decides to work in a shop that has descending sales and which sells crystals and diamonds. He works there for a year and progresses and thus attains enough money to make his way through the desert to reach the Pyramids together with other travellers. Through his travelling journey he reaches the oasis where he meets The Alchemist who guides him physically to the Great Pyramids of Egypt but spiritually to the call of his destiny and the Language of the World. However an unanticipated turn of events awaits him as well as the readers.

My Review and Experience Regarding The Book

The Alchemist is one of those books that are forever embedded in the chambers of existence because of its everlasting essence and picturesque individuality. I’ve learned great knowledge and wisdom from each and every word of this book and most of them are ever-present in my memory. There are numerous tenets that are worthy of being mentioned and appreciated. One of them is the golden content it contains.

Every book is a garden in your pocket according to a Chinese proverb and like every garden, it has its own eccentricity. This book takes you to so many peaks of philosophy and contemplation that you can’t but find depth in every line. There is not one paragraph or one dialogue or even one chapter that contains unfathomable depth, the entirety of the novel itself is spiritually tranquil and wise. I liked the way how it had no twisted, turned plot instead had a simple one, easily understandable for readers of all levels but still it redeemed its foundation and real meaning.

The plot consisted of immense importance, the main idea was about those who follow their destinies and the practice of alchemy. It was quite intriguing to get to know a little about a faction I am not really familiar with, alchemy. The book itself wasn’t that long or complicated instead it was simple yet effective. I was joyful at the fact that the book addressed a really important genre of life, pursuing and following your destiny and dreams which is proving to be important in every vein of life.

Another worth mentioning point of this book was the character development and how  relatable it was at least for me and hopefully for many others. Everyone goes through pessimism, anxiety, depression and doubt and to be able to relate to that and see and feel for yourself how the character evolves in the end is a journey worth taking and embarking upon. The story itself is very flexible meaning that almost anyone can relate to it in some way that stays between the reader and the book. It contains words that deal with destiny, goals, aims, dreams, ambition, perseverance, doubt, failure and fate all of which combined form life.

I loved how various characters throughout the plot supported the protagonist in reaching his destiny and how they were paid tribute to. Like it is said, it is a book that doesn’t only have to be read but experienced and felt by innumerable souls. One thing that astounded me was that considering the structure of the novel, the climax was surely the conclusion and when your heart truly understands the plot twist all that you’re left with is a grin on your face and a heart full of reminiscences.

My Favourite Lines From the Book

Here are a few lines from the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that have stayed with me:

(P.S. All of these quotes/lines ARE from The Alchemist and they are written by Paulo Coelho, I was just too lazy to write it besides every line.)

  • “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
  • “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
  • “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
  • “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
  • “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
  • “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
  • “Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
  • “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”
  • “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
  • “We are travelers on a cosmic journey, star dust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
  • “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”
  • “Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”
  • “If you start by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it.”
  • “He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.”

 

“Maktub (It is written.)”

– Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

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