Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Original Publication Date: 1988
Pages: 197

Only the devil will leave you in a waiting room for three hours without any reading material. So I took this as an omen and went ahead and looked for a new dentist. But before I found one, the Soul of the World orchestrated the natural flow of things so that I should come across a copy of this book, and my diaphanous frustration compelled me to buy and read this work I've avoided until today. I have this particular belief that books I see in most houses that I've been to, if not all, are overrated. To me, The Alchemist was no exception. I read it under 3 or 4 hours which is probably because of the simplicity both in the story and in the prose, both were straightforward and linear. But it was nothing like Hemingway's style. It is retrospective but please, do not even imagine comparing this work to Siddhartha(4 Stars), as some people have the apparent audacity to do. Siddhartha is the work you read to experience a trance-like retrospective examination of life, in comparison, the only thing that made its mark in The Alchemist was the fantasy part, which I have to admit I see as a considerable digression for a ruminative retrospective novel. It does talk about love as the universal language of the world, that all of us are one but I had this feeling that The Alchemist barely scratched the surface of this reservoir of ruminative philosophy which led to an occasional overtly pretentious and over-reaching feel. Coelho's telling us that the happiness we seek is within us, as evinced by how this novel started and ended, what I can't curiously reconcile however is the fact that it was someone else's dream that completed his journey, as if negating the very message it seeks to impart. Just my two cents anyway.
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