My good friend Michelle suggested I read this book because of the references to Spain and travel. I put it off for awhile, unsure about the “magical” elements of the text. But on my recent flight to Toronto, I powered through the 175-pager on the plane and am so glad I read it.
The book follows Santiago, a shepherd from an Andalusian village as he traverses through the Northern African desert to the pyramids of Egypt, where he believes a great treasure awaits him. He meets an alchemist on his way who encourages him to do the impossible, look for signs, and follow his destiny.
The setting of the book itself was captivating – the small villages of Andalusia and the windy desert terrain of Morocco and Egypt made me yearn to head overseas sooner than I already am. Author Paolo Coelho’s vivid descriptions solidified at least one Moroccan city on my “to visit” list.
The book also had some inspirational elements – the oft-repeated quote “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” left me wondering and pondering whether I believe in things like destiny, and “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” left me reminiscing about my cross country days since that quote was on the back of our team T-shirts one season.
Overall, for a short travel-related book, the Alchemist combined three key ingredients for a successful read: whimsy, rich settings, and inspiration.