The Alchemist


Title: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho / Audio Narration: Jeremy Irons

Publication Date: 2001

Number of Pages: N/A (Unabridged: 4 CDs-4.5 hours)

Genre: Inspirational/Audio Book

Geographical Setting: Spain, Morocco, Egypt

Time Period: Distant past, Middle Ages

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Destined to be a priest, Santiago decides to be a shepherd instead due to his love for travel. He sets off to find hidden treasures in Egypt after having the same dream for two nights in a row. Along the way, he encounters a Gypsy woman, a crystal merchant, an Englishman who is on his own quest to become an Alchemist, and a self-proclaimed king. Receiving directions from each of these unique people, his journey takes him away from his homeland in Spain, to Tangier, and across Egypt, to his final destination, the Great Pyramids. At an oasis in the desert, Santiago believes he has found the ultimate treasure – his one true love, Fatima. Eventually Santiago meets an alchemist, and their student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy’s misguided agenda. After a long journey during which he grows mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, he finally discovers the location of the treasure. Listeners, uncertain of the treasure that the boy seeks, learn that riches are not found in possessions, but are within our hearts and minds. Jeremy Irons performs the unabridged audio version of this story, with a crisp, articulate, and amazingly unique portrayal of each primary and secondary character. A British stage and screen actor, Irons has the perfect tone and rhythm for this contemporary fable that draws the listener into the story, eager to walk along side Santiago.

Subject Headings: Self-discovery, Voyages and travels, Egypt, Wisdom, Boy shepherds, Dreams, Imagination in boys, Courage in boys, Spiritual fiction, Metaphorical tales, Fables, Brazilian fiction , 20th century, Portuguese fiction, 20th century, Translations into English, Omens, Human spirit, Idealism, Personal legend, Coming-of-age, Pilgrimage, Quest, Magical phenomenon, Internal struggle

Appeal: Exotic, Wise, Timeless, Philosophical, Inspirational, Destiny, Love, Spiritual, Coming-of-Age, Symbolic, Irony, Imaginative, Transforming, Psychologically intense, Introspective tone, Leisurely paced, Dramatic

Three terms that best describe this book: Inspiring, Imaginative, Captivating

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Epic of Arya: In Search of the Sacred Journey – by Ahir Taha: An inner journey of self-discovery, this inspirational, allegorical novel is the spiritual bible: it heals, awakens, transforms. Arya’s epic conveys a universal message of unity, hope, and salvation in a world torn apart by the clash of civilizations and religions, offering a spiritual alternative to the two scourges plaguing mankind today: the scourge of religious fundamentalism, God idolatry, and the scourge of atheist materialism, God denial, for only a spiritual awakening can save man from his own blind folly.

That Same Flower – Floria Aemilia’s Letter to Saint Augustine – by Jostein Gaardner: Using the device of a text-within-a-text, Norwegian writer Gaardner presents the story of the woman whom Augustine abandoned when he answered God’s call to the celibate life. In a brief introduction, the author describes how he stumbled upon an ancient Latin manuscript in a Buenos Aires bookshop, then bought it, believing it to be the only known letter to Augustine from Floria, his lover and the mother of his son. Written in response to Augustine’s Confessions, which she has just read, the letter has the biting tone of a woman scorned, but also the drive of a fearless intellect.

Castle of Wisdom – by Rhett Ellis: Elias, a curious young man, sets out to find the “Castle of Wisdom,” a mysterious old ruin where he believes he will learn The Master Truth: the meaning of life, the secret of existence, the reason for it all. Along the course of his eighteen year journey he experiences everything from romance, joy, and wealth to misery, pain, and poverty.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume – by Mandy Aftel: To this most extraordinary treatise on the history and making of perfume, Aftel, a writer and aroma designer, brings sheer delight in the bouquet of aromas in the natural world, as well as a “love for arcana” and an irreverent sensibility that embraces aphrodisiacs. Smell is one of the most primal senses, and world history is full of the manipulation of smell, she reveals, starting with the palace perfumers of ancient Egypt; the Israelite women who concocted essences for temple sacrifices; the Romans, who anointed nearly everything; the alchemists, who searched for the Divine Essence.

Earth 2012: The Ultimate Quest – by Aurora Juliana Ariel: How to Find Peace in a World of Chaos encourages readers to embark on a personal quest to push themselves to find inner peace. Dr. Ariel guides the reader on a personal quest, providing a powerful key to inner peace in her revolutionary breakthrough Counseling Theory and Practice, The Quest. Distilled into seven powerful steps, this healing process is designed to accelerate a personal and planetary transformation that could help end suffering on Earth. Her message: If we want to avert the dire potentials before us, we must look within and unlock the subconscious patterns behind our challenging life conditions.

The Art of Living – by Epictetus (Audio book-Narrated by Richard Bolles): Epictetus, one of the greatest of the ancient thinkers, believed that the primary mission of philosophy is to help ordinary people meet the challenges of daily life and deal with losses, disappointments, and grief. His prescription for the good life: master desires, perform one’s duties, and learn to think clearly about oneself and the larger community.

Name: Maurine


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