Review: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

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In the world of The Alchemist, following your dreams isn’t just a source of personal meaning—it’s pretty much divine mandate. A self-help book and vague philosophical tract cleverly disguised as a novel, it begins with all the charm of a fairy tale but quickly devolves into platitudes and abstract meditations on what it means to follow your dreams.

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Review: The Most Human Human

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META-REVIEW: I finished The Most Human Human back in June and have been struggling to put my thoughts about it into words ever since. (Okay, a lot of the time I was just playing Mario Kart.) When I finished the book, I felt vaguely ambivalent. But I didn’t have a coherent reaction until one of my friends asked me what I thought about it, and then told me to write a review when I failed to adequately explain myself. So for the next three months I undertook a closer inspection of the book, throughout which I cycled between mild annoyance at Christian’s gratingly earnest style and anguished self-questioning, occasionally descending into fits of righteous, impotent rage. Many scrapped drafts later, this essay is the result of my exertions.