Audiobook Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (published by HarperCollins)
I absolutely loved the audiobook narration of this one. The actor Jeremy Irons did a brilliant job bringing this mystical tale to life, with the character’s voices and with the flow and pacing. It’s a shame that I didn’t love the story more.
The Alchemist started off so well, with the story of a young Spanish boy from Andalucia who is perfectly happy roaming the countryside with his flock of sheep and a book. However, the shepherd, called Santiago, has a dream and goes to a fortune teller to help him decipher it. He then meets a strange man and embarks on a journey to discover his ‘personal legend’, and to follow his dreams.
This journey takes Santiago to Morocco and across the desert to the Egyptian pyramids. He meets various people along the way, including the mysterious alchemist, and learns many things about himself, about listening to his heart, about overcoming challenges and about never giving up. He also learns to see the signs in omens and how others have followed their hearts or not, and what has stopped them.
I enjoyed his insightful commentary on life as a shepherd, life in the city of Tangiers, his experiences in the desert and at the pyramids. But I did feel annoyed that there were no female characters of note (I was surprised to discover after I listened to it that this was published in 1988, I honestly thought it was older).
This is a wonderful, inspirational and uplifting book for the most part. Until the end when it descends into heavy religious mentions about it all being down to God whether or not you succeed in following your dreams. I’m an atheist and I don’t mind a few mentions, but it just got a bit much for me as suddenly it was all about connecting to God and this higher power was actually the one to direct your personal legend. Your soul is actually God’s soul, your dreams are actually the language of God etc etc.
This is a short, simple fable and this is a short review. Loved the first three quarters, hated the last quarter. One full star goes to Jeremy Irons’ narration.
My rating: 3/5
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