Dec 14, 2010

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - Book Reviews and Our Discussions (Imran.Fatemah,Liza)

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Book Reviews By Anna Hassapi from

Dreams, symbols, signs, and adventure follow the reader like echoes of ancient wise voices in "The Alchemist", a novel that combines an atmosphere of Medieval mysticism with the song of the desert. With this symbolic masterpiece Coelho states that we should not avoid our destinies, and urges people to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on Earth is the way to find "God", meaning happiness, fulfillment, and the ultimate purpose of creation.

   The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy ventures in his personal, Ulysses-like journey of exploration and self-discovery, symbolically searching for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt.

   When he decides to go, his father's only advice is "Travel the world until you see that our castle is the greatest, and our women the most beautiful". In his journey, Santiago sees the greatness of the world, and meets all kinds of exciting people like kings and alchemists. However, by the end of the novel, he discovers that "treasure lies where your heart belongs", and that the treasure was the journey itself, the discoveries he made, and the wisdom he acquired.

   "The Alchemist", is an exciting novel that bursts with optimism; it is the kind of novel that tells you that everything is possible as long as you really want it to happen. That may sound like an oversimplified version of new-age philosophy and mysticism, but as Coelho states "simple things are the most valuable and only wise people appreciate them".

   As the alchemist himself says, when he appears to Santiago in the form of an old king "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true". This is the core of the novel's philosophy and a motif that echoes behind Coelho's writing all through "The Alchemist". And isn't it true that the whole of humankind desperately wants to believe the old king when he says that the greatest lie in the world is that at some point we lose the ability to control our lives, and become the pawns of fate. Perhaps this is the secret of Coelho's success: that he tells people what they want to hear, or rather that he tells them that what they wish for but never thought possible could even be probable.

Coelho also suggests that those who do not have the courage to follow their " Personal Myth", are doomed to a life of emptiness, misery, and unfulfillment. Fear of failure seems to be the greatest obstacle to happiness. As the old crystal-seller tragically confesses: " I am afraid that great disappointment awaits me, and so I prefer to dream". This is where Coelho really captures the drama of man, who sacrifices fulfillment to conformity, who knows he can achieve greatness but denies to do so, and ends up living a life of void.

   It is interesting to see that Coelho presents the person who denies to follow his dream as the person who denies to see God, and that "every happy person carries God within him". However, only few people choose to follow the road that has been made for them, and find God while searching for their destiny, and their mission on earth.

   Consequently, is Coelho suggesting that the alchemists found God while searching for the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone? What is certain is that the symbolism of the text is a parallel to the symbolism and the symbolic language of alchemism, and similarly the symbolism of dreams is presented as " God's language".

   It is also symbolic that Santiago finds his soul-mate, and the secrets of wisdom in the wilderness of the desert. The "wilderness" is a symbol that has been used by many great writers e.g.. Austen in "Mansfield Park", and Shakespeare in "King Lear". In the desert, Santiago meets his "twin-soul" and discovers that love is the core of existence and creation. As Coelho explains, when we love, we always try to improve ourselves, and that's when everything is possible. The subject of love inspires a beautiful lyricism in Coelho's writing: " I love you because the whole universe conspired for me to come close to you."

   "The Alchemist" is a novel that may appeal to everybody, because we can all identify with Santiago: all of us have dreams, and are dying for somebody to tell us that they may come true. The novel skillfully combines words of wisdom, philosophy, and simplicity of meaning and language, which makes it particularly readable and accounts for its bestselling status.

  Saye & husband ade sorang lagi girl bestfriend ,Fatemah.Basically,rupa die normal except for her attitude and thoughts.Umur muda lagi tapi cakap macam philosopher..hehe.sowi babe,i have to admit that!! Kitorang selalu lepak bertiga...normal laa kalu lepak mesti cakap merapu punye...tapi we have special one thing in common (except saye kot...but still learning!!),we love to talk about books,life,self improvement and philosophy.Last week punye cerita,plan saye nak jumpa Fatemah nak tanye pendapat  pasal bisnes online yang saye plan nak buat this month.Tapi tu laa,tak sembang sangat pon.Yang lebihnye diskas pasal "the alchemist".Last month mase kitorg lepak together @ Borders,The Curve,die tak habis-habis promote buku ni.Bile menengok muka bersungguh-sungguh die tuh,makanya saye beli jugak buku tuh.Actually its a novel .Pheww...Nasib baik bukan classic literature ke buku motivation ke..Kalu tak 1 page pon payah nak habiskan..haha.Saye lebih suka baca novel berunsurkan thriller atau misteri.Macam Michael Connelly dan  John Grisham ..My friend ni cakap kalau dah habis baca..bagitau die sebab after that we gonna have discussion about the book.

After about 1 week,saye dan husband dah khatam dah baca novel tuh...Having thoughts for a the way,basically its a heavy content book but the author interpreted it in a easy way for normal people to understand me.This book is about life,determination towards dreams,and signs "omen" that God has guided us.Ada antara kita rasa dunia ni tak adil sebab ada manusia kaya,miskin,cantik,dan buruk.Mengapa begitu?? Mengapa kita rasa kadang-kadang kita selalu ada masalah yang kita rase macam susah je nak setel?Dulu saya selalu rasa dunia ni tak adil pada saya..Tapi my husband selalu pesan kat saye..Allah tak kan bagi problem yang tak mampu kite selesaikan.Kadang-kadang,,,Dia tak bagi benda yang kita inginkan,tapi die bagi benda yang kite perlukan.Mungkin kita mintak kupu-kupu,tapi Tuhan bagi ulat beluncas je kat kita.It's how you understand and accept  it..People punye perception can be variety..but take it in positive side...

Percaya kah anda pada kebetulan??coincidence??I dont believe in coincidence..kenapa??yes..dulu saya percaya pada kebetulan.Kebetulan ini laa..kebetulan itu laa..macam-macam.Its actually universe response to your thoughts.Try this at shopping mall..especially time susah nak parking kereta.Try imagine parking mane yang korang nak..contohnye dekat dengan escalator ke..Try imagine deeply and surprisingly u will get it!!!Selalu saya guna taktik ni bila nak parking kat Midvalley Megamall tapi selalu tak menjadi kat One Utama.Pelik gak mula-mula..Tapi lama-lama saya baru perasan kenapa tak jadi.Sebab saya tak berapa suka sangat pergi One Utama..hehe.

Time sekolah dulu saya punya impian yang macam-macam...Tapi bila dah tua-tua ni..semua tuh dah rasa tak logik dah.Sebab apa??Sebab obstacles and perception you towards life when you are getting older.Bila dah baca buku ni...ermmm...I want it all back!!! and PLEASE  follow your dream...and the universe will RESPOND to you!!!

Sebenarnya ada banyak lagi benda saya nak share.Tapi saya just share apa yang saya paham.People can have their own perception..Mungkin perception korang different daripada saya punya.I have limitations due to lack of knowledge...Itu laa pentingnya discussion lepas membaca buku.Boleh share different thoughts.Lagi banyak saya membaca,lagi rendah dan naif saya rasa.Jahil betul saya ni...

Life is beautiful...its how you look at it...i find it so amusing..


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