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The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream | [Paulo Coelho]

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest.
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Publisher's Summary

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a meditation on the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is art eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

©1988 Paulo Coelho; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"The story has the comic charm, dramatic tension and psychological intensity of a fairy tale, but it's full of specific wisdom as well, about becoming self-empowered, overcoming depression, and believing in dreams." (Publishers Weekly)

"Yareli Arizmendi spins this marvelous tale of exotic adventure....[He] makes us feel the pain and joy of Santiago, the poor shepherd boy, as he tries to decide whether to seek a larger fortune or stay in the security of his job. Exuding softness and pathos, the narrator reminds that us most people who are unhappy failed to follow their dreams when young." [AudioFile]

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (4987 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Hanifah Wilson 11-01-14 Member Since 2014

    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." -Nelson Mandela

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""5 Stars Across The Board""
    Would you listen to The Alchemist again? Why?

    I would definitely listen to the title for a second time. It is a compelling novel about following your dreams no matter the hardships that come along with trying to achieve them. In the novel, Santiago dreamt of a life of travel and treasure, and made strides toward achieving both although he experienced some stumbling blocks along the way, including loosing all of his possessions to a street their and traveling the deserts during a time of war.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Alchemist?

    The most memorable moment for me was when Santiago met Fatimah. This part of the novel intrigued me because it spoke of two beings in love with never having known each other before hand. Santiago speaks of knowing he would love her before he ever even knew her and believes that they both loved one another at first sight, because they understood the language of the universal language of the world.


    Have you listened to any of Jeremy Irons’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have never listened to any of his other performances, but I do remeber his role as Scar in "The Lion King".


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    One moment in the book that really moved me was when Santiago met the old King. During their interaction, the old King said something that will stick with me for eternity. It read, "when you want something, the universe conspires in helping you achieve it".


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny Hogan 10-29-14
    Kenny Hogan 10-29-14 Member Since 2013

    A musician and songwriter from the Boston area. I like "Regular Guy" books. No chick Lit, no zombies, or vampires please. No politics.

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    "A Disappointing Fable"

    This is a book that tries hard to be full of inspirationally motivated lessons in life. The narration was good, but the story itself was geared more to an adolescent mindset. I had hoped for some sort of spiritual uplifting, but it just didn't accomplish that for me.

    Nothing profound here.

    I'd say it's overrated, and a bit long.

    It's pleasant enough to read and these simplistic fables and philosophies are nice to think about, but as a story it's not too exciting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ninjac Washington, DC, United States 07-25-11
    ninjac Washington, DC, United States 07-25-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Narration adds to ho-hum story"

    I joined a book club and this was the first book they chose to do. I wouldn't have read this book otherwise. But I really enjoyed Jeremy Irons reading this. You will like this book if you like new age religious themes.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micah Woods Cross, UT, United States 08-08-12
    Micah Woods Cross, UT, United States 08-08-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Personally, I did not care for it"

    This book was very little story surrounded by lots of rather ill-conceived philosophy. The little story there was is very simple with every small conflict easily resolved within a few 'pages'.

    I also did not agree with several aspects of the 'follow your dreams at all costs' theme that the writer espoused. I don't want to put in any 'spoilers' but the writer put way too much emphasis on the 'personal legend'. I was sick of that phrase by the end...

    Be warned it is VERY judeo-christian based, so if that kind of thing offends you, then stay away. I am a Christian, but still found the way the author used religion to be heavy-handed.

    Perhaps if you are looking for inspiration you might enjoy it, but I left it feeling uninspired and wishing I had spent my credits elsewhere.

    PS: Jeremy Irons did a good job with the reading, no complaints there.

    30 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EW Corydon,IN 10-21-11
    EW Corydon,IN 10-21-11 Member Since 2010

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "Eh....."

    Well I thought I would really like this book but didn't like it much at all. The story on the surface is very plain. The plot takes the main character in a big circle and back to square one with no "happy" ending (really it feels like no ending at all). It does have a deeper meanings that you can read into some but still not an exciting read. If I hadn't been one of those people who has to finish a book once it is started I would have put it down early rather than finishing.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 10-19-11
    Lynn 10-19-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining"

    If you are interested in classical literature that will keep its value, this book isn't it. If you want deeply drawn characters, this will disappoint. If you want an entertaining listen for a long drive, this may well be your choice! It is filled with thoughtful moments and insights into the human condition. It is filled with "religious" references, but that will not kill the story, but add to it. It is just a good listen.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Minola Clark Manson San Diego, California United States 03-27-12
    Minola Clark Manson San Diego, California United States 03-27-12 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Poorly written overworked "fable""
    What disappointed you about The Alchemist?

    The story was too poorly veiled. Too chauvinistic. the concept was not new original. Therefore the information should be presented very well. It was not.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Paulo Coelho again?

    no


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jeremy Irons?

    Absolutely


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Alchemist?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cienne 02-26-12
    Cienne 02-26-12

    Cienne Aubryne

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    "Too Dull"
    What would have made The Alchemist better?

    This would probably be better if you read it yourself, rather than an audible. It just didn't capture my interest. I didn't care about the characters and since finishing it, can't remember much about it.


    Would you recommend The Alchemist to your friends? Why or why not?

    I wouldn't recommend the Audible version because it just didn't grab me, make me want to find out more.


    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-08-11
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-08-11
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    "Heavy-handed"

    This book was like listening to a long sermon on a hot day, sitting in an uncomfortable pew while someone hits you upside the head with a canoe paddle.

    I suggest drinking a shot every time you hear the word, "omen".

    72 of 108 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 03-20-12
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 03-20-12 Member Since 2014
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    "What a nice little allegory!"

    This is a pleasant little story. And, it's one of those books that bears re-reading (or re-listening, if you did the audiobook format, such as I did)! I has the same sort of feel as "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran, or "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse - and similarly carries a lot of subtle and overt life-messages in it's concise text. It is one of those stories that I'll ponder for quite a long time!
    Jeremy Irons did a fantastic job with the narration - lots of variety in voices, and LOTS of emotion and feeling in the emphasis of dialogue!
    This was a short, quick, and easy listen, and was very much worth my time!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 360 results PREVIOUS12336NEXT
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  • Amazon Customer
    London, United Kingdom
    6/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable the 2nd time around"
    What made the experience of listening to The Alchemist the most enjoyable?

    I read the story of The Alchemist many years ago, back then, I kind of got the jest of it and that life is a journey. Fast forward several years later and instead of picking up the book, I listened to the book. The audible story transformed me to another place that the book version wasn't able too at that time. I listened to the story over two days and was drawn in with the experiences throughout the book.

    I also suspect that I, myself, was at a place to truly understand the story. Worth the read and worth the thoughts that one has while listening to the story. Recommended Read!


    What does Jeremy Irons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Jeremy Irons has a good voice that doesn't take away from the words being expressed, he's able to capture the characters and the story where one is intrigued to keep listening and can't quite stop the audiobook.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Emotional reaction, doesn't have to involve laughter or tears, instead I was greeted with a higher awareness of things, daily things, one take for granted. My emotion was more meaningful and one of thought.


    Any additional comments?

    Life is a journey as it has been said many times. This book is about a journey, I believe it can help one to stop and think for a while and observe ones own life. To look at the individual belief system and ask questions that deep down each of us knows the answer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Crawley, United Kingdom
    11/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Uplifting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Alchemist to be better than the print version?

    its just a different way to absorb the message. Both book and audio were very enjoyable


    What did you like best about this story?

    No one particular part... I liked the whole book


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I liked listening to it during my stretching sessions


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alexis
    79a West Drive, Highfields Caldecote, Cambridge, CB23 7RY
    9/5/11
    Overall
    "Very disappointing"

    This book was extremely disappointing. It was very cheesy and sentimental drivel. Badly written, repetitious and juvenile in style. The characters are one dimensional and in being so lacks depth. Despite it crossing various parts of the world, it fails to describe any of the beauties or otherwise of the places. In summary, this is a very badly written self-help book. The only good thing I can say about the book is that it is short ...

    I would not recommend this book to anyone - just a waste of time and money!

    3 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-13 of 13 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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