This is a story that reminds me of a fable. There are sheep and wolves and horses and camels. The protagonist is a Spanish shepherd sometime in pre-industrial Europe, but I could not even pinpoint the century. We only know him as ‘the boy.’ Very few of the characters have names. Besides the boy, there is the old king, the thief, the crystal merchant, the Englishman, the tribal chief and finally the alchemist. The one named character I now remember is Fatima, the desert girl the boy falls in love with. Why she has a name, I don’t know.
It’s a book I read in three sessions: First over dinner at TGI Fridays downtown Buffalo, then waiting for the jetBlue flight and in flight to JFK Airport, and finally after boarding my JFK flight to San Diego, while waiting for maintenance to clear up a dent somewhere on the plane. In other words: it does not take a long time.
The message is: set your goals high, find your target, do the right thing, and the universe will conspire to make sure you get what you want, no matter what the obstacles. God, Allah, a mysterious rabbi who is the Son of God, wise men, shop keepers, alchemists and warriors are all there to teach us lessons.
It was worth the read and it inspired and motivated me, similarly to the following books:
- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Illusions, Richard Back
- The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
That is the category it belongs in.