Coelho’s first instinct on writing always is to motivate his readers, with Aleph this becomes obvious. The book does seem familiar with Alchemist already on shelves. But let me answer why you should read it, anyway.


When Aleph first got to my hands I wasn’t really as excited to read it as I would have been on getting some other books. To be honest I was actually fed-up of reading Paulo Coelho.  Before Aleph, I had already read The Alchemist, Pilgrimage, Brida, The Winner Stands Alone and By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept – and the last book was the one that made me dislike him. Anyhow, I started reading Aleph.

I have to say, Aleph took me by surprise. The book is awesome and the plot simple. It is based on a writer who is not happy with his life. He believes he needs something in life but not knowing what he needs, he decides to follow the suggestion of his friend J and starts travelling. He travels to five countries in six weeks. His last stop is to Russia via the Transiberian Railway where he meets a girl, Hilal, who is a violinist. They realize that they were incarnated together 500 years ago. The writer had betrayed Hilal in an act of cowardice and was now seeking forgiveness from her, 500 years later in this life.

The writer realizes that this was what he needed: he needed to be forgiven by Hilal and in turn, Hilal needed to forgive him. They both realize that what they were searching for and needed was forgiveness from each other.   Although the plot is simple, Aleph has several stories and actions going on at a time. Whilst reading, I felt it was more like a spiritual book I could not get used too. The book shares its theme with The Alchemist and By the River Peidra I Sat Down and Wept, which all revolve around the idea that everybody has a different destination to reach but to reach that destination one should follow their dream.

Signs and signals along the way helps one find that dream and therefore shouldn’t be disregarded.

This book runs on the power of love, forgiveness and courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. As a young reader of the book myself, I found this book to be targeted towards youngsters who most of the time remain in confusion and conflict within themselves regarding their careers. Coelho himself was in a state of conflict during his young age when he was forced to stay at a mental institution by his parents after expressing his desire of becoming a writer instead of following his family’s traditional career path. He unwillingly had to study law and even got involved with drugs. However, once his parents died he started to write and today, he has several international bestsellers in hand and is one of the most widely read authors. Coelho followed his dream and reached his destination. He is an author who writes inspired by his own life, teaching us to live better lives.