The Alchemist is one of those "esoteric" feeling books that makes you feel like life is vivid again.
It certainly plays on the feeling that "there is something more" that you've forgotten and the thought that you are part of a bigger plan.
As you follow Santiago, the shepherd boy on his adventure, you will automatically question your own adventure in life; are you living up to your higher purpose? Why have you forgotten your way? What else is out there that you should be doing? Have you betrayed what you were meant to do with your life?
Asking questions like this...feeling the feelings that go along with such questions...it really is a wonderful way to live. For the short time that you read this book, you will feel more alive. You will feel more in tune with "the universe". You will feel that wonderful 1-in-the-morning-stare-out-the-window-and-listen-to-the-wind feeling...that is…unless you don't know what that feels like.
Santiago follows his dreams, which take him from Spain to Morocco and then Egypt, all in search of a special treasure. During his travels he learns lessons from messengers that seem placed in his path at the right moment, just when he needs them.
The author, Paulo Coelho, is a Brazilian writer who is very well-liked. I heard that Madonna loves him. I have read several of his books, but I think this is the best one. He has churned out quite a few more books in the last few years that I have not read yet, so it is certainly possible that he has outdone The Alchemist. I'll check it out.
A few of his books have been non-fiction and about his own life. From what I can piece together, Paulo is a member of a little-known Mystic Catholic sect which seeks after spiritual growth. They assign previously unknown international mentors to their members...older men who have attained a high degree of spiritual power (and worldly success?). I won't even go into some of the weird stuff they do, but if you want to an idea, pick up "The Pilgrimage", also by Coelho.
But do read The Alchemist; it is just such a good book. It will definitely give you a wisdom-buzz...or an "esoteric-buzz".
Today I was reading an interview with Paulo, in which he talked about watching for "Omens" in your life that only you will recognize. It's a language the “Universe” speaks to you through...like coincidences, songs, feelings, synchronicities. This is a theme he definitely speaks a lot about in The Alchemist.
Some people complain that the book is too simplistic, that you would be stupid to believe that there is some “plan” for your life that you should have followed; that you should wake up, take your head out of the “touchy-feely” clouds and get back to work.
If you are prone to such thoughts, perhaps this book is not for you. However, if you enjoy waking up your soul from time to time, there is no better place to do it than in the clouds.