Monday, November 26, 2007

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a pleasant and easy to read story, but I felt the author tried to be too clever, without totally suceeding. Yet the book contains some fine reading.

The story‘s narrative flows well, with high points and low points, and with likeable characters. It is the quest story of a small shepherd boy who follows his dream to find a treasure. After having had a dream, he gives up his current existence and goes in search of this dream.

The main character is a sheperd boy that after having the dream embarks himself in a crusade to reach the piramids of Egypt after going accross the desert. A gypsy woman and a mysterious king advise him to pursue his destiny. The old man says to Santiago: "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." Of course there are many difficulties in his way that prevent him from fulfilling his dream – but what happens at the end, I will not disclose here.

Through a boy's life the book shows how great life can be and that nothing is easy, but if you believe in yourself and your dreams you can find your treasure in life. We all have a reason for our existences and this book helps you to think about your life, about your purpose in this life, and how to find happiness in all the things you do.

The protagonist must choose whether to stay in his current status or to keep walking and taking risks. Though he finally achieves his dream, sometimes he loses everything he had in that moment.

The structure of the story can be compared with the style of life of determined people who chase a dream until they get it. For this reason, the story itself tries to project a practical message. Generally this is an uplifting and inspirational piece of writing. I trully believe it is a book that we should read at least once in our life-time to question ourselves about our own purpose in life.

Coelho's writing is smooth and liquid; it runs off the page at a fair pace, and you should be able to gobble it up in a couple of hours. 50 million copies of this book have been sold world-wide and if you haven’t read it yet, you better make sure you do so soon─or you’ll feel out of the loop!

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
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Lindsey Vonn

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