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This magical tale about a young Andalusian shepherd who dreams of finding treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. Modern classic by the Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho - an uplifting and philosophical book club novel.

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Den scores




155 pages

‘The Alchemist’ is a short magical tale about a young Andalusian shepherd who dreams of finding treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. First published in 1988, the novel has been studied in literature and as an established international bestseller it makes an uplifting and philosophical book club choice.

After consulting a gypsy woman, the shepherd boy, Santiago, is surprised to discover that he has a mission, described by the author as a 'Personal Legend' to journey to Egypt. He is in no doubt that he wants to fulfil this dream which leads him to the exotic markets of Northern Africa and then onto the Egyptian desert where he finally meets the alchemist who reveals his fate.

As well as omens there is plenty of philosophising and words of wisdom. Entrusted to balance a spoon of oil, the wisest of all wise men imparts. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon”.

His journey is not without challenges and encounters - wise men, female distractions and street rogues, but Santiago is not put off his mission and we the reader are willing him to journey on because like the young shepherd we want to believe in following dreams!

Santiago learns to “speak the language of the desert and the winds”. He becomes in tune with nature and through him the reader discovers how nature and the animal kingdom are also intuitive guides connected to Santiago’s world and his destiny.

The alchemist’s words are life affirming “Don’t give into your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to listen to your heart.” For the Den we appreciate the simplicity of the story but the complexity of the author’s philosophical notions. It’s a novel you would happily pass on to friends and other book clubs. Den readers enjoyed the pace of the story and the opportunity to ponder on the purpose of life.

This modern classic which ignited celebrity traction in the '90s including Bill Clinton, Madonna and Will Smith, has recently been signed by the later to produce a film adaption with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, although this has been rumoured to be on hold (!).

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