Friday, September 23, 2011

the alchemist: a review

I am a firm believer in following your dreams; I am also constantly aware of how terrifying that can be.  "The Alchemist" by Paolo Coelho is a fable-style novel about just that: how scary following your dreams can be. 

I have to admit - I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this novel.  Some have raved to me about how fantastic it is - something which I just have to read and others have told me to steer well clear - the people who love it are clearly insane as it's horrible.  There doesn't seem to be a middle ground where "The Alchemist" is concerned. 

Don't get me wrong, the novel can be a bit much - and the constant reference to the "language of the world" seemed a bit lost on me.  I can understand why people thought it was rubbish - there didn't really seem to be anything breathtaking about the novel.   The ending was a bit underwhelming but I did enjoy reading the novel and found it easy to read.  I did wonder that whether the novel had been hyped so much to the novels detriment - yes, Coelho's style of writing is fresh but it's not, in my eyes, all that fantastic.  And yes, the point of the story is heartwarming but it isn't edge of the seat exciting nor remotely something we haven't heard a hundred times before.

The message of the novel, I feel, was the best part but again - I have read this message before elsewhere and I've felt it had been better done.  I personally can never tire of reading stories about people struggling, in human terms, to follow their dreams and more importantly uncovering their destiny.  I found the novel very easy to read and finished it in a day - there are some fantastic lines in the novel but overall I found it a bit disappointing.



Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your review. I have read a couple of his books and I just find them strange. If your interested in finding out a secret about this author's chilhood read.. Veronica Decides to is also a fast read although sad. I love to read but lately most books just leave me frustrated and uninspired. I don't know what genre of books you enjoy but I would like to recommend Out by Natsuo Kirino.... it is very scary but so well written and translated that you feel like you are actually there. The shadow of the wind and The angels game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón are also really amazing. Have you heard about these books or read them yet?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy all genres really - and haven't read any of the books you've listed, so thanks, I look forward to getting my teeth stuck into them! I'm currently reading some short stories by Truman Capote - including Breakfast at Tiffanys as I want to see how it matches up to the film (one of my faves). xo

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