Born in August 1947 Rio de Janerio, Brazil Paulo always aspired to become a writer.
At 17 he became a journalist and lyricist against his parents wishes. He was later arrested during the military rule in the state on grounds of leftist writing.
In 1982 his first book ‘ Hell Archives ’ was published and later in 1986 ‘ The Pilgrimage ’ which was followed by ‘ The Alchemist ’.
Somewhere the authors personal story of following the dreams against the odds is highly reflected in the first half of the story and majorly influences the track till the end.
Santiago - Lead character
Santiago a shepherd in the andalusian region sets
out on a journey to find the treasure which often
comes into his dreams at night. He decides to set
out on an adventurous journey. On his way he
meets a number of people who show him the
path to his destiny. Eventually he makes it to his
aim only to find one more twist awaiting him in
the scheme of things before he snaps up the real
This book has a number of punch lines which makes
the reader sit back and notice them. A few of them
“ The world's greatest lie: At a certain point in our lives we lose control of what's happening to us and our lives become controlled by fate.”
“ When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
"Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure."
Use of Objects.
Urim & Thummim
Language & objects
Though this book has simple lucid language which doesn’t trouble the reader but Paulo has used various interesting words including the title itself which adds curiosity to an already intriguing story. Eg; sycamore, Alchemist.
Apart from the characters there are some vital objects added in to this story like sheeps , the stones urim and thumim which paves his way to choose the good and bad omen. Also Fatema whom he falls in love with and the gypsy.
The writer has excellently used creative terms like beginners luck , the omens that help him to take decisions, various abstract symbols and the oasis (fertile region in a desert)
What makes this book popular?
The most important fact that this book gained popularity Is due to it’s real life portrayal of the Shepherd Boy. The Alchemist is a novel that appeals instantly, because we can identify with Santiago: as all of us have dreams, and are dying for somebody to tell us or inspire us, that they may come true. And if you are down and out it will help you immensely to come out of all that rut and feel positive and great about yourself. The novel skillfully combines words of wisdom, philosophy, and simplicity of meaning and language, which makes it particularly readable and more so enjoyable.
Overall if we speak about the cast of this book, Paulo has done sensible justice to all of them.
Way of description and the use of abstract but common human emotions that spread in the entire book. eg“I would tell them the happiness and loneliness of a shepherd life”
Equal Importance to the storyline which keeps the reader engaged. More significantly it is built around the lead character & the treasure, and never strays from it.
The only negative aspect of this book is about it’s heavy handedness along with a heavy dose of philosophical & spiritual content.
Perhaps this book is one of those which stays etched in your mind for quite a long time.
The ability to boost your morale when the chips are down. Filled with exceptional optimism, it overshadows all the negative aspects.
The one sentence that sets the entire tone of this book and also the punch line is:
"WHEN YOU REALLY want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true."