The Alchemist

Paolo Coelho

The AlchemistA simple shepherd boy sells his beloved sheep and sets off to seek his destiny in this modern fairy tale by Paolo Coelho. Journeying from the Andalusian hills of Spain to the markets of Tangiers and thence into the heart of the Egyptian desert, the reader joins Santiago in discovering the greatest treasure of all: the magic of following one’s dreams. A fairly traditional terrier, I tend to eschew much of contemporary fiction, especially anything that’s “too popular.” So I must confess that this book’s international best-seller status put me off at first (as did the fact that it was used as a prop in an episode of Friends, presumably to demonstrate the intellectual weight of guest star Sean Penn’s character). Oh happy day that Coelho’s slim book found its way to the top of the “to read” pile! Like a Key West sunset, your first peek into the Grand Canyon, or retracing the footsteps of your forefathers on Ellis Island – fill in your own travel memory here – the details of Santiago the shepherd boy’s journey will linger in your consciousness long after you’ve returned to the “real” world.