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The Alchemist (Portuguese: O Alquimista) is an allegorical novel by Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. It follows Santiago, a young Spanish shepherd, on a journey to fulfill his Personal Legend. It has been hailed as a modern classic.  The plot is inspired from Jorge Luis Borges' short story: Tale of two dreamers.

The Alchemist was originally written in Portuguese and has since been translated into 67 languages, winning the Guiness World Record for most translated book by a living author. It has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history.

Santiago, a boy living in Spain, leads a common life of travel through his trade of shepherding and entertains thoughts of marrying a merchant's daughter. One day, he has a dream in which a child tells him to go to the Egyptian pyramids, which will lead him to hidden treasure. He consults a gypsy to interpret his dream, who tells him that it is a dream in the language of the world, and he must go to the Pyramids. Santiago dismisses this and plans to continue on with his daily life. While he sits to read a book, an old man strikes up conversation with him. The old man reveals that he is Melchizedek, the King of Salem. The King tells Santiago that in exchange for one-tenth of his sheep, he'll tell him where to find the treasure. Santiago agrees and buys a ticket to Tangiers.

In Tangiers, Santiago is tricked by a thief and loses his money and possessions. Discouraged, he curses his fate. However, he is reminded of the old king and finds newfound resolve to continue his quest. In Tangiers, he works for a year with a crystal merchant, and after accumulating enough money, he travels to Egypt with a caravan. On his journey, he meets an Englishman who tells Santiago of an alchemist living in the Al-Fayoum Oasis who has discovered the Elixir of Life and can transform metal into gold.

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Details

ISBN-10:  0062502174
ISBN-13:  9780062502179
Author:  Paulo Coelho
Genre:  Literature & Fiction
Publisher:  HarperSanFrancisco
Date Published:  ©1993
Format:  Book : Fiction; English
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Quick Tip by . January 25, 2011
An excellent read. I am currently finding a spot for this in the High School Curriculum. It is past time for us to have books that are more relevant for our Hispanic Population. "Mango Street" is a nice start, but by the time they reach high school, we have so little for them. They tend to read this one from cover to cover, and have a lot to say about it as well.
review by . August 03, 2010
  Quite possibly one of my favorite books. The whole story stands as an allegory that reaches across religions, cultures, and languages. The novel has been translated in over 33 languages and is an international bestseller. It could even be argued that Coelho's story transcends created borders to be a global novel.      I would recommend this book to anyone who is on a journey, with an interest in listening to stories. The allegory involves a young man named Santiago …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Love this book. Love the story. It has some great quotes. It should be required reading for all young people. Follow your dreams.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Really loved this book. It ignited in me a desire for a fantastic life at a rather young age. And since, that is what I've lived.
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Lovely journey and philosophy.
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2010
loved it
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
good story
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Didn't captivate me the way others had.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
One of the best books I've ever read. I recommend it more than any book outside the bible. Spiritual, easy read, page-turner, coming of age, heroic, beautiful prose, what more?
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
I put this book down. It was a little boring.
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