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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 (5481 )
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4.5 (3845 )
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Performance
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  •  
    npilkington 12-14-14
    npilkington 12-14-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "A feel good book with no prerequisites."
    If you could sum up The Alchemist in three words, what would they be?

    A wonderful journey.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is read by one of the most engaging performers I have come across in years of Audible membership. A compelling story and top-notch performance combine to create an experience I was hesitant to pause.


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

    I have not. However, if he is always this good, I should be looking for others which he has performed.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Alchemist and why?

    Fatima, a "desert woman." Not wanting to give anything away, I will try to explain. Her role is critical even if not referred to often. Her part of the story is powerful and provokes thought.


    Any additional comments?

    It seems too often that a book about the life journey of a person, real or not, gets caught up and filtered by race, religion, geography, time, and so on. Those very filters probably keep many people from reading great stories because they are turned off or away if not lined up with their personal beliefs. This story transcends those filters by being uplifting, curious, and, if you want it to be, very deep and moving, without running into those issues. By not crafting this as a story told from a strict age, place, race, or religion, the author has produced an exciting journey that can be enjoyed by all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sora SOMERVILLE, MA, United States 11-16-14
    Sora SOMERVILLE, MA, United States 11-16-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautiful story, wonderful narration"
    What made the experience of listening to The Alchemist the most enjoyable?

    The narrator does a great job telling the story.


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

    The narrator's voice brings the novel to life through his acting.


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

    Yes. Luckily, it is short enough that you can do that!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda United States 11-12-14
    Linda United States 11-12-14 Member Since 2012
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    "WOW-This is a MUST READ"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Alchemist to be better than the print version?

    Yes. The narrator, Jeremy Irons, has a voice that is exceptionally rich and mesmerizing. The only other narrator I can think of who may be on par w/Irons is Simon Prebble. Prebble could have done just as fantastic a job as Irons does in this work.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The King. The King is a character who is introduced very near to the beginning. Although he doesn't get too many lines, he's the backbone of this story.


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

    Aha, that rich, multi-layered tone of his voice. I am especially fond of what I believe is a barely discernible speech impediment which causes his S's to be ever-so-slightly slurred. Seriously, I could listen to Irons read a grocery list and be enchanted. His reading of Lolita is magnificent.


    If you could take any character from The Alchemist out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The King. I'd love to be in the presence of someone so wise. Perhaps some of the wisdom would rub off on me.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is one of the most important books I've read in my life. I am 66 years old and have read thousands of books. This is, without doubt and hands down one of my favorites. In fact, I'm going to buy a hard copy of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Nj 11-06-14
    Michael Nj 11-06-14 Member Since 2014

    Happy hour best hour!

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    2
    2
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    "Here it is, part 2"
    Would you listen to The Alchemist again? Why?

    I would, it's a timeless tale of adventure and fun.


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

    When Santiago falls in love with Fatima.


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

    I've never listened to one of his other book performances, but I have seen him on TV and his acting was always superb.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Alchemist and why?

    Melchizedek, he was so interesting from the way he was introduced to the way he exited, the dressing down to look poor only to reveal his gold chest plate was a very cool part of the story


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey 11-03-14
    Jeffrey 11-03-14
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    2
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    "Good message but the narration was average"
    What did you like best about The Alchemist? What did you like least?

    Great message within the story, makes you think of your own legend to chase also if you listen to your own heart, you will able to find that legend. But at the end, surprisingly I didn't enjoy Jeremy Irons narration. I thought Jeremy Irons would of done a better job but I found myself drifting away.


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

    Yes, if only the friend has time to sit down and listen to the message. If you are on the move and usually listen to audiobooks as a convenient way to listen while doing other things, I found it difficult to stay focus on the story. With Jeremy Irons tone, I tend to drift off while listening.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Jeremy Irons narration was a bit dry for my liking. Didn't do well switching back and forth between characters.


    Did The Alchemist inspire you to do anything?

    Well, I actually can apply some of the messages of the book to my life now. Starting a new career and not shying away on finding how everything will benefit me in the long run. Not having the fear of failing during this new part of life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TiaraIvy Newark, NJ 10-31-14
    TiaraIvy Newark, NJ 10-31-14 Member Since 2014

    -carpediem.

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    "just a bit ehh ..."

    Well, the narrator gave me the Lion King's villain "Scar" feel , and i always enjoy a good villain !! The whole idea of the story was very powerful , to basically not give up on your dreams and to keep pushing forward, & i am all for the inspirational tales, however, this book does not go under one of my faves

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ashley t. linden, nj 10-31-14
    ashley t. linden, nj 10-31-14 Member Since 2014

    Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.

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    2
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    "Charming, Simple, Yet Undeniably Profound"
    Where does The Alchemist rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm quite fond of this story and this particular narration - to be honest, what 90s kid wouldn't be thrilled to listen to Jeremy Irons tell a story (for those of you who aren't familiar, Irons voiced the iconic villian Scar from Disney's The Lion King)? His voice is perfectly suited for the overall tone and theme of this story. The writing style is simplistic in nature, given the fact that this book has been translated from its original Portuguese, but it certainly doesn't detract from the plot. If anything, coupled with (in my opinion) the soothing tone of Irons's voice, this makes for an altogether satisfying experience.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The shopkeeper/crystal merchant was my favorite character, primarily due to his placement within the story. His purpose - though unwittingly - was to warn the boy of what could happen if he chose to stay with his flock as opposed to traveling to Egypt. He is self-aware of his fears and, despite him being a good person, still comes across as lacking because he has never made his pilgrimage to Mecca.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not to be vague, but I really did appreciate the times in the story in which the boy would ruminate about his flock of sheep. Clearly, Coelho meant for the sheep to be symbolic of lives not fully lived.


    Any additional comments?

    I absolutely love how The Alchemist comes across more so as a fable than a novel. Coelho takes several opportunities to weave smaller stories within the overarching fabric of the plot, all of which teach the protagonist important lessons as he goes about finding his own destiny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Moran 10-30-14
    Keith Moran 10-30-14 Member Since 2014

    I cannot think of what to say about myself.

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    6
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    "A Well Done Coming Of Age Story"
    What other book might you compare The Alchemist to and why?

    It reminds me a little bit of The Hobbit. Not so much with the content but more in that they are both books about someone discovery more about themselves through a grand adventure. Though the nature of the adventure in these two books are very different.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed the story and narration of The Alchemist. It did have a bit of a slow start. The story at times could get a little dry and I wish it would pick up faster. The narration is what really sold it for me. Jeremy Irons does a great job. He really sells the story, and the world it is taking place in. I also enjoyed the subtle changes he would make to his voice to differentiate characters. It was not over done but just enough so you always knew who was speaking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mamadou Bronx, NY 10-24-14
    Mamadou Bronx, NY 10-24-14 Member Since 2014

    I'm just learning how to use this Listener Page...

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    Performance
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    "Good story, but narration was lacking..."
    What did you like best about The Alchemist? What did you like least?

    I like the message in which the author was trying to convey in the story, that you should follow your dreams and be persistent regardless of what type of test are placed in your path. What I liked least was the narration and production, I feel that the narration did not allow me to be engaged as much as I thought it would.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Like I stated before I loved the message basically telling readers to follow your dreams and don't be afraid to take chances as well.


    What three words best describe Jeremy Irons’s voice?

    Scar from Lion King, Deep, Powerful.


    Did The Alchemist inspire you to do anything?

    It inspired me to keep thinking the way I already think, which is that regardless of what it is when you put your mind to it, it will be accomplished.


    Any additional comments?

    Good listen, don't know if I would listen to it again though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessy O. Brooklyn, New York 10-20-14
    Jessy O. Brooklyn, New York 10-20-14 Member Since 2014

    A fellow Bookworm. :-) Bookworms unite!

    ratings
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    5
    4
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    "So glad The Universe led me to this book!"

    "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

    This is just one among many beautiful quotes featured in this inspiring story about a boy who sets out to find his own personal treasure a continent away in the Egyptian desert! Following a simple dream, the trials and tribulations which he faces along the way truly tests whether he truly wants to achieve his dreams - even if it means getting robbed along the way, having a few close calls to death, and a lot of self-doubt.

    The irony of the ending will teach you that you just never know where you will find your treasure. So keep an open mind! But without a doubt there will be blood, sweat, and tears along the way.

    The Audiobook itself is an experience to the senses. The narrator voices The Englishmen and Alchemist perfectly. Its also very easy to distinguish when an individual character is speaking as he distinguishes the voices very well. So kudos to the narrator for getting a young boys voice down!

    This novel should be on everyones bucket list. It doesn't matter whether you're spiritual or religious, Christian or Muslim, young or old - there will be something that resonates with you because at the end of the day aren't we all dreamers?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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