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I actually came across this book by chance in a charity shop but its author would concur that it was Meant To Be. When first published in 1988, The Alchemist became a publishing phenomenon and to date over 27 million copies have been sold worldwide. It is easy to see why. Coelho is a born storyteller and the affecting tale of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world to find his treasure, has all the appeal of a classic fairytale . I read it at one sitting. Coelho subscribes to Jungian ideas of the collective unconscious or, as he puts it, the "anima mundi." Put very simply, each individual is part of a cosmic whole and in order to find our destiny all we have to do is follow our intuition and recognise truths which point us in the right direction. It's a philosophy which is both engaging and positive. And anyone with significant years of life experience would probably concur that there is much truth in this. Even death, according to Coelho, can be accepted as part of life's journey and maybe seen as the ultimate culmination of the reason why we are here. Santiago is a simple Everyman, one prepared to learn from his mistakes and turn negatives into positives in pursuit of his goal. The richest "treasure" of all is finding one's dream , including love, and a greater awareness of a Higher Being who helps us along the way. This is one of those books which some say changed their lives. Others may be deeply cynical. But there is no doubt that it is beautifully written and also life-enhancing in its belief in the power of human endeavour. One to read when you are feeling down in the dumps
I have a cousin who's really into Coelho's books but the subject matter didn't seem to be of interest to me. After reading your review, I'm still not convinced I would pick up and read one of his books :)