By Chet Yarbrough
By Paulo Coelho
Narrated by Jeremy Irons
“The Alchemist” is Paulo Coelho’s most famous novel, published in 1988. Originally published in Portuguese, it has been translated in many languages to become an international best seller. Though one may object to the story’s patriarchal tone, it offers a wonderful tale about why every girl and boy journeying to adulthood should pursue their personal legend. A legend is a history of existence pointed toward a life goal that one desires. “The Alchemist” is a story of a boy’s journey.
Every human being begins life at the bottom of the same hill. The hill has as many paths of ascent as there are ways of life. Coelho infers, that one’s beginnings, whether rich and privileged or poor and deprived, mean nothing because it is the choices made, paths taken, in life’s journey that make the difference in one’s life. The story of “The Alchemist” shows life is full of hardship and disappointment mixed with wondrous opportunity.
Coelho grasps the essence of being human. Children pursue a personal legend, a path in life, based on desire, belief, and hope. Coelho’s tale implies that a successful legend is achievable through self-understanding and persistence.