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Friday, July 29, 2011

The Alchemist- A Graphic Novel

Harper has brought to India Paul Coelho's Alchemist in a delightfully simply graphic format. Something which even children can easily follow.

The Alchemist is an allegorical novel by Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. The Alchemist was originally written in Portuguese and has since been translated into 67 languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. It has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history. (SOURCE- WIKIPEDIA).
The Alchemist is the first graphical novel that I have read so far and trust me, it didn’t disappoint me. Tos tart with Alchemist is a very simply written, lucid story – once transformed into a comic it becomes even simpler to appreciate and understand. And it also helps transform imagination to reality.
The story is about a shepherd boy Santiago from Andalusia. In those days, the best option for someone who wanted to travel was to become a shepherd. At a very young age, Santiago had studied well to become a priest. When the time came to decide what to do with his life, he decided to become a shepherd so that he could travel the world and gain knowledge from his experiences.
With his flock of sheep and a new book every few nights, he set about to see the world- traveling, tending to his sheep and reading books to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. He met interesting people and learned more from them.
He has a recurring dream of finding a treasure but he usually wakes up before he gets to know where the treasure is. A gypsy woman in exchange for one tenth of his treasure when he finds it tells him to go and seek the treasure among the pyramids.
As he was contemplating the same, he meets the King of Salem who gives him 2 decision making stones- urim & thummim- the black one signified yes and the white one meant no. The King tells me to go and seek his personal legend and emphasizes his philosophy that
"When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
The boy proceeds towards Egypt. He has a mix of ill fate and good fortune – loses his money to a thief, earns it back working as a shopkeeper’s assistant and sets about to see his goal and fortune. He finds friendship, love and most importantly discovers his inner strength and resources via the alchemist whom he meets on his journey to the Pyramids via the Oasis in the desert.
Of course the boy gets his treasure but more than that, he discovers his very own personal legend and unlocks the powers of self.
The comic book style made the novel easy to read and understand. There is a lesson involved here without sounding too preachy especially because it is in a graphic format.

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