Finding Answers or Finding Diversion in “The Alchemist”

By Mary Richardson, Staff Writer

Need a little faith in pre-destination to get through midterms? Come join the Thunderbird literary club Between the Covers as we talk about our first book of the year, “The Alchemist” by Brazilian author Paulo Coehlo.

Published more than 25 years ago, “The Alchemist” has sold more than 100 million copies and has been translated into 80 different languages. Though Coehlo’s style is simple, it’s undeniably expansive, as its message of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, has reached so many different readers.

The story begins with Santiago, a Spanish shepherd boy, bringing his sheep to rest at an abandoned church and symbolically highlighting how, in the pursuit of travel, he rejected his parents’ wish for him to be a priest. The boy, as he’s archetypically called in the book, then takes a trip to a nearby town to restock on supplies and remembers there’s a woman there who reads dreams. While at first skeptical of the fortune teller’s reading that he’s destined to find treasure at the Pyramids, he later meets truer sources of guidance who reinforce this belief, and the boy begins his journey for his “Personal Legend.”

“The Alchemist” draws upon countless mythological archetypes and remarkable tales from Mediterranean history to tell a story about searching for something believed in and desired. Whether you’re a pragmatist or a dreamer, “The Alchemist” is a force for good in the literary world, a reminder of the value of courage, persistence, and love.

With now being a good time to escape into an inspirational fable, the first book gathering to discuss Part 1 of “The Alchemist” will be on Friday, Sept. 30 at 5pm on the second floor of the Tower. A little mystical self-help never hurts.

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