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Someone must want it for Xmas: 'The Alchemist' graphic novel

November 17, 2010 |  7:00 am

Thealchemist_graphicnovel When a book is released the week of Thanksgiving, it's clear that it's being positioned as a holiday gift. That's the timetable for the graphic-novel version of Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist," which hits shelves Tuesday November 23.

"The Alchemist," originally published in 1988, is the story of the spiritual quest of a shepherd boy. There are dreams to be followed, directions from wise advisors and lessons from the universe.

The book has been translated into 71 languages and sold more than 40 million copies. Whether this graphic-novel version -- adapted by Derek Ruiz and drawn by Daniel Sempere -- will count as No. 72 isn't mentioned on the book.

The look is glossy and warm, with handsomely chiseled heroes and buxom women. Coelhlo himself was the model for the King of Salem, one of the characters who helps guide the shepherd boy.

Although the Rolling Stones sang "you can't always get what you want," Coelho's book carries an inverse message. "When you want something," the King of Salem tells the shepherd, "all the universe conspires to help you achieve it."

The message, quite frankly, is lost on me. No matter: It's certainly resonated widely. And it'll be back in stores, in a new form, just in time for the holidays.

-- Carolyn Kellogg