Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: The Alchemist

The Alchemist 
Yes, I know, everyone else read this book ten years ago. Recently I picked it off my bookshelf as my I-need-a-five-minute-break book. It worked pretty well-- an easy to follow storyline and short chapters made it the ideal momentary break from the world.

I cannot say that I highly recommend the book. It had some of the elements of Spanish writing that I seem to like-- that fantastical gifted phrasing that makes words seem magical-- but it lacked a complicated plot or believable characters. Every person seemed to have a unified core that appeared unmediated through their actions with the world almost as if the main character had invented them to entertain him during long nights in the desert. Furthermore, although the character went through some hardships, I do not think I have ever encountered a self-discovery story where the path was so clear or the journey so easy. Maybe this is my view from reading too many books where authors torture their characters, but it seems like omens/God/happenstance/luck (all things to which the main character's first person narrative constantly refer) provide such easy roadmaps.

The book was enjoyable and moderately charming, but not something I could highly recommend.

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