After a friend told me that The Alchemist was one of his favorite books to teach and passing by it time and again on the table at the local bookstore,...moreAfter a friend told me that The Alchemist was one of his favorite books to teach and passing by it time and again on the table at the local bookstore, I decided to read it through. Since the illustrated version was available, I picked that one up.
The story is phenomenal. It is about a shepherd, Santiago, who undergoes his quest of his Personal Legend. Through the course of the story, you meet an interesting array of characters like the King of Salem, the owner of the crystal shop, a camel driver, an Englishman, Fatima and the Alchemist, just to name a few. Each is distinct and contributes to the growth of the main character.
I also found the message about following one's Personal Legend hit me in on a personal level, since I have found myself at a crossroads in my life in following my dreams or taking another path. The story does not tell you which why is right or wrong, but you feel Santiago's fulfillment as he pursues his path.
The book is made of good quality paper that will last with a slight gloss to them, giving the illustrations a nice medium. The pictures are by Mobius, and they are really well done. The art is simple, like the prose of the story, and they help frame different scenes. You cannot see the face of the character is most of the pictures, allowing the reader to visualize the character in his mind's eye. However, you do have an occasional partial face, and the images have the potential of hampering your own personal vision of the story.
The prose is simple, but the meaning is deep. I have heard people compare Coelho to Richard Bach or Joseph Campbell. While there are aspects that do translate, The Alchemist is an enjoyment of its own. The illustrations are nice, and the book itself is nicely bound. However, I would rather have the text alone. The book would make a nice gift, but I would recommend reading a non-illustrated version first.(less)
Though the novel does drag when you read tracts from the conspirator's manual, I found the novel to be rather enjoyable. The idea of how the world wou...moreThough the novel does drag when you read tracts from the conspirator's manual, I found the novel to be rather enjoyable. The idea of how the world would be shaped and for what reasons was interesting, and the narrator was able to lead the reader into the world and allow the reader to be engulfed into things.
The end was well done, and it was a good closure to the work. The character does not die, but he is changed. Indeed, he awakens to the doctrine of the state and accepts it. Yeah, he has been tortured and brainwashed, but he does not give in under that torture, though seeds are definitely laid.
If you have the time and you like depressing books about totalitarian states that try to stamp out individual thought and reason, go ahead and pick this book up. If you want something lighter though, I would try to find something else.(less)