Book Reviews
  Last update:  May 2010

If ever you have looked at your life as an adventure in which the world around you acts as the backdrop to the story of your dreams, then you should have a look at "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho.  The story starts in Spain with a shepherd boy called Santiago who begins his life's journey to find a treasure.  We travel with Santiago as he learns the wisdom of listening to one's heart, and following one's dreams.

I found Paulo's writing easy to read and his imagery compelling.  From the first page there are omens, subtly leading the reader, nudging you to remember what it is you already know.  From the simplest ideas to the deepest intuitions, we are taken on a journey through life and forced to acknowledge a new perspective.

It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting!  This is what we are told.  Rocket science?  Obvious!  But how often we forget when we are deep within the forest of our own drama.  It is the knowledge buried behind the words, the lessons hidden between the lines, the omens carefully placed on the pages of "The Alchemist" that we must find.

There must be a language that doesn't depend on words.  I think that Paulo Coelho is right.  And it is this language that he describes so well, using words that we already know!


I have read most of Coelho's works now, and, while I have not enjoyed every book, his stories are always told in a style which is captivating from the first chapter.

The Fifth Mountain was a story that, for some reason which I do not fully understand, I just could not put down.  In all, it was well structured, and a very interesting read.  I believe it lacked something toward the end, but along the way there were some extraordinary phrases which I wrote down to remember. It was not 'The Alchemist' however.  Perhaps it was the fact that this was a story based on events in the bible.

If it sounds like I cannot honestly evaluate this book, you are correct.  In one sense I found it a brilliant recount of the story of Elijah, even for one whose blind faith in Christianity has faded over the years.  On the other hand I think the ending let me down - I think I kept coming back for more because I expected so much in the stories climax.

Having said that, I do believe this is worth a read.  It nags at me.  At the back of my mind, the story and its meaning won't let me go.  There was something hidden in those pages - something my eyes picked up, but my mind has yet to see!

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