Once again, a book that takes one on an enlightening journey to exotic places in the world. The Alchemist is the story of a Spanish shepherd boy in search of the truth about life and existence. In the course of his travels, he encounters an alchemist, a man who possesses the mysterious secrets of metals that if heated under certain conditions reveals the secrets of the soul. Santiago's journey takes the reader from the arid plains of Andalusia, Spain to the bandit-plagued deserts of Morocco and Egypt, each stage of the voyage sprinkled with hidden wisdom and epiphany.
The story is laid out in simple narrative, mystical almost, yet one gets a vivid picture of the scenes as the boy goes through his illuminating passage. Though the narrative is a bit detached at times, it nonetheless lets one inside the head of the boy and his desire to discover the truth about life. Though a YA novel with a YA protagonist, The Alchemist possesses adult themes, making it a satisfying read for both readers. It is a short book packed with lessons and insights.Four Stars.