‘El Alquimista’ por Paulo Coelho


1988, 177 p.

Yes, it’s The Alchemist, but it’s in Spanish, translated from the Portuguese by Montserrat Mila. I read this as part of my Spanishland course, so it’s at Intermediate level. For such a small book, it took quite a while to read.

The book is an allegorical tale about a young  Andalusian shepherd called Santiago (but often referred to as ‘the boy’) who sells his sheep after dreaming twice of finding treasure at the Pyramids. It’s a quest tale as he gets robbed repeatedly, meets people who further him on his journey, and finally ends up crossing the desert with the Alchemist, who gives him wise advice. Does he find his treasure?- well, you’ll have to read it yourself, in whatever language.

I must confess that the book was too new-agey and self-affirmational for me. It’s in the same genre as Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and those “wish for it and you’ll get it” type books.

But even in a language with which I am not particularly fluent, I could recognize that this was beautifully written, especially in its descriptions of the desert and in its telling of  falling in love with Fatima, the love of his life. Like most allegorical tales, it is simply told but it is not a children’s book at all.

2 responses to “‘El Alquimista’ por Paulo Coelho

  1. I haven’t had any luck with Coelho either.
    Nor have I had any luck with the book assigned for my French Book group. Called (in English) Diary of A Body, it’s been languishing unread on my desk for ages, because I cannot get interested in a male’s preoccupation with his body’s reaction to stuff that happens in his life. I have my fingers crossed that book group will be cancelled for next term as well as this one!

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