The Alchemist is a novel which a reader can enjoy on two levels. I was recommended this book by someone who said they felt it helped them to keep an open mind to new possibilities and challenges. It’s reassuring to find that there are books out there, that can assist us, perhaps unknowingly on a sub-conscious level but that we can also simply enjoy.
On the surface, it is simply a beautiful novel following a young man’s journey, as he follows his dreams and destiny. On a deeper level The Alchemist is a novel that not only describes the journey of the young man, but more than this Coelho takes the reader on this journey also.
The journey a reader takes in reading The Alchemist, crosses oceans, villages, and deserts, each with its own intoxicating description. Each new place offers new challenges to either be risen to, or given up on. Each new scene also brings us new experiences and new people to meet and learn from, all the while life still moves forward.
It is Coelho’s descriptions of these exotic places that were my favourite part of reading The Alchemist. They were so exacting that they transported me to the centre of the novel.
Coelho’s use of language is quite unique, minor spoiler alert, but his lack of concretely naming the main character in this novel, ultimately means he could be anyone. It makes it easier for the reader to inject themselves into the novel.
The novel is mostly realist, with relatable situations and people you could imagine meeting in the exotic places Coelho describes. But there are elements of magical realism too, these add a slight air of fantasy to the novel – making it a more light-hearted read.
If you read with your mind clear and open to new thoughts and ideas, then I believe this novel could help a reader open themselves to new possibilities.
I would recommend The Alchemist to those who enjoy novels that allow you travel across the world, but also makes you think. It is a novel that can make you think about your own circumstances, and help you pull together a more positive outlook if you let it.