Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Alas, not for me it wasn't. But I knew it was not really my sort of thing, so I was doing what I could to give the book a chance. In the interests of which I tried my best to ignore the preface and truly awful cover blurb, which tried its utmost to make the book both unbearable and unreadable.

And I'm pleased to report that I found it neither of those things. It was shorter than it might have been, ie showing some restraint in the self-indulgence stakes. I liked the sense of place and atmosphere and it was certainly different to the sort of thing I normally read. I also enjoyed some of the neat twists and touches, such as when the alchemist killed the prophetic hawks. Why did he do this? I'm so glad the book didn't tell me! Or when the shepherd realised he'd been robbed by his new friend but delayed looking so as to postpone the confirmation. Or when the alchemist divided the gold into four pieces, one as a back-up, and then the shepherd ends up needing it after all. I found those witty and interesting. I'm sure it was the wit and lightness of touch - albeit in a more preachy format than I'd choose - which helped me find it easy to read.

I won't be reading any more Coelho, but am glad to have given him a go and the process was a lot, lot better than the cover suggested!