Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Turning Lead into Gold
A mystical tale about following recurrent dreams! This is the first book I have read of Paulo Coelho. After reading this book, I would say that it comes close to being a modern classic. The reason why it does not merit the status of a classic is because it falls short of a punch in the climax. The writing loses the intensity of the build up that has been promised at the beginning.The character sketches of Santiago, the Andalusian shepherd boy, the King, the Tangiers crystal seller, the Englishman, Fatima and the alchemist have been etched well. Coelho writes with wisdom and experience behind him. He has understood the pulse of the Spanish, the Arabs and the English quite well. While reading through this book, we also get enlightened about the art of alchemy.
It is a tender and gentle story. I will give you few glimpses: "People say strange things, the boy thought. Sometimes it's better to be with the sheep, who don't say anything. And better still to be alone with one's books. They tell their incredible stories at the time when you want to hear them. But when you're talking to people, they say some things that are so strange that you don't know how to continue the conversation." In one of the passages, Fatima tells Santiago, "The desert takes our men from us, and they don't always return..we know that, and we are used to it. Those who don't return become a part of the clouds, a part of the animals that hide in the ravines and of the water that comes from the earth. They become a part of everything ... they become the Soul of the World." This book teaches us how we all belong to the soul of the world which is in turn the soul of the Creator. It also teaches us that once we get on to the quest of our dreams, it is the soul of the universe that beckons us to succeed and inspires the environment to help us should we be true to our hearts.