Reviewed by Manisha Pahwa
Widely translated and read worldwide, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist tells a powerful story about a young Spanish shepherd named Santiago who embarks upon a journey to realize his dream of finding treasure at the pyramids in Egypt. Beginning on the cold ground at a ruined church in Spain with his flock of sixty sheep, Santiago starts his quest upon meeting a gypsy fortune teller and a mysterious and wise king. Their strong belief in him provides Santiago with the support and conviction he needs to reach Africa, where, under the heat of the desert, he inches closer towards achieving his dream. Santiago’s path is laden with both obstacles and omens – the often subtle signs that indicate which direction to follow. Although this story is about the journey and not the destination, the book’s brief ending provides readers with a moment of levity as Coelho reveals that there is much joy and humor when we discover our treasure.