The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist
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The Alchemist is an allegorical novel that traces the journey of a young Andalusian shepherd, Santiago, to Egypt to find a treasure and ultimately to his enlightenment.

Santiago’s journey begins after having recurring dreams of a child coaxing him to look for treasure hidden beneath the great pyramids of Egypt. In this journey, he meets certain people who persuade him to seek the truths hidden in his heart and realize the depth of desires hidden at the core of his own heart. During the eventful journey, he comes across Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who teaches Santiago the concept of a 'Personal Legend'. Next, he comes across a beautiful young woman and an alchemist. The alchemist accompanies him in this expedition and enlightens him with knowledge and wisdom.

Although bit frustrated about why the treasure evades him every time, as the book progresses, the readers find Santiago realizes that his was a journey of self-discovery, attainment of profound knowledge and wisdom and about creating his own 'personal legend' than being satiated in materialistic possessions. In other words, it is a book about finding one’s own destiny against all odds and Coelho, with his profound power of words and lyrical writing, gives an ideal treatment to this theme.

Published in the year 1988, The Alchemist has been translated in more than 56 international languages with over 65 million copies sold worldwide. It has even set a Guinness World Record for being the most translated book by a living author. The number of people all over the world who have read this book is steadily on the rise, for the author has done a good job of scripting a story that grips the reader for hours at a stretch. 
About the Author:

Paulo Coelho is a widely-acclaimed novelist from Brazil though he started his career as a lyricist and theatre director. Coelho, till date, has written around 30 novels among which The Alchemist is considered by many his path-breaking masterpiece. This one book alone has won him millions of fans all over the globe. Paulo Coelho has received numerous prestigious awards including the famous Crystal Award from World Economic Forum. In 2007, he had also been named Messenger of Peace of the United Nations. Coelho is considered as the all-time best-selling Portuguese author. This small book has been translated into different languages for distribution all over the world. 
User reviews

‘An exceptional writer.' -- USA Today

‘His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people.’ -- The Times

‘One of the few to deserve the term Publishing Phenomenon.’ -- Independent On Sunday

‘Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic but his message is what counts… he gives me hope and puts a smile on my face.’ -- Daily Express

Like the one-time bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sniff a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two. Brazilian storyteller Paulo Coehlo introduces Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who one night dreams of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. And so he's off: leaving Spain to literally follow his dream.

Along the way he meets many spiritual messengers, who come in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. In one of the Englishman's books, Santiago first learns about the alchemists--men who believed that if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." Of course he does eventually meet an alchemist, and the ensuing student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy's misguided agenda, while also emboldening him to stay true to his dreams. "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.