Literature: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

“‘You don’t even have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation.’”-the alchemist to Santiago, in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (1993)

Arches Campsite Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist was the book that packed for last week’s Utah trip.  In my tent at Arches National Park (and then in various sites near Moab), I bundled up at night in my down sleeping bag, flicked on my headlamp, and flipped pages with gloved hands. I haven’t read a more simply beautiful book in a long time.  The Alchemist is a little story about a shepherd boy named Santiago who sells his flock to pursue his Personal Legend.  That pursuit takes him on a journey from his home in Spain to Egypt, where he hopes to find a treasure buried near the Pyramids.  Along the way, he encounters a man who claims to be a king, a Gypsy woman, a merchant, an Englishman, and—finally—the alchemist.  These people each share lessons with Santiago that enable him to fulfill his quest.  Love, danger, and suspense keep readers wrapped up in Santiago’s story until its unexpected end. I am not surprised that this book has been translated into fifty-six languages and sold over twenty million copies.  It contains truths about love and about life that resonate with us:  the living.  In a way, this little story becomes the big story of us all.  Some of this book’s gems:

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.” “…when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.” “When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”  “The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.” “‘You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend.’” “…our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.” “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”   


5 responses to “Literature: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

  1. Guess what? Your blog is amazing! I can’t remember when was the last time i’ve overcome such a good blog that almost all articles/posts were interesting and wouldn’t regret spending my time reading it. I hope you will keep up the great work you are doing here and i can enjoy my everyday read at your blog.

  2. Thank you for your support. We will link this page to my blog for one day (my staff will contact you later), but you are most welcome to visit
    Warm regards

  3. Hello, Paulo Coelho got wind of your blog and wants to post this article on his blog.
    Paulo Coelho’s blog
    In case you have any restrictions, do not hesitate to write me on my email :
    Have a wonderful day!

    And here’s a quote to ponder:
    The Warrior of the Light does not postpone making decisions.
    (Warrior of the Light)


  4. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I have been traveling and couldn’t get right back to you, but I was happy to log on today and find your responses. Your words keep me going! -Traci

  5. Pingback: Literature: Coelho’s The Devil and Miss Prym « DOWN and OUT

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