The father's sacrifice

The Alchemist - Paolo Bacigalupi

I loved this short novella, my first book by Bacigalupi. Written in the expressive, lyrical language, it depicts a world rich in detail and traditions that have a slightly Eastern flavor. Although the plotline is rather uninspiring, the magical system is original, the pacing fast, and the protagonist as real as my neighbors.

Vulnerable and weak, naïve as a dreamer and definitely not a hero, the main character in this story cares mainly for his six-year-old sick daughter. He would do anything for her, break any law, sacrifice his integrity, even subvert his talent to the service of evil.

Despite his faults and his flexible morals, I like the guy. As a mother myself, I understand his dilemmas and I accept his choices, however reprehensible they might seem to others.

This little tale reached deep into my emotional core and touched my heart. I swallowed this book in one sitting, something I rarely do.

And I’d like to add that the illustrations by J.K. Drummond are gorgeous.