20th Anniversary of The Alchemist

20th Anniversary of The Alchemist

If you want to see more photos of the event, click here

If you want to hear the podcast (in Spanish) click here or listen below

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

How much is the theme of your novel “Devil and Miss Prym” inspired by the modern problem of terrorism in the world?


The novel was written before 9-11 attacks. I was in Munich, in a signing session, when these events happened. For my surprise, not only the theme was in the book, under a metaphoric guideline, but also the answer to the attack was the same as in the book: instead of seeking for justice, it seems that the Western world decided for revenge – that, as we all know, leads to nowhere. The “Devil and Miss Prym” concludes the trilogy “And on the Seventh Day”. The first two books were: “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” (1994) and “Veronika Decides to Die” (1998). Each of the three books is concerned with a week in the life of ordinary people, all of whom find themselves suddenly confronted by love, death and power. I have always believed that in the lives of individuals, just as in society at large, the profoundest changes take place within a very reduced time frame. When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready.