I enjoyed the clarity of the author's prose and the exotic settings of Andalusia, Tangier, and Egypt, and the book certainly will provide those who choose to read or reread it plenty of material for analysis. The "challenges and trials" of Santiago resemble the shadow realms and tests that Telemachus and Odysseus walk through and face with courage in The Odyssey. At what points in the story did Santiago's stated reason for his journey fade, replaced by other concerns and opportunities to learn and grow? What was his real reason for undertaking his hero's journey? I am curious about your thoughts and answers to these questions. Feel free to add a comment or two on something in The Alchemist that gives you a sense that you seen this kind of character before and that this plot is one you are very familiar with (See Foster's Chapter 4, "Now Where Have I Seen Her Before"). Reading any one of the four suggested modern odyssey is an experience in what Foster calls intertextuality, a concept we can start commenting on in this blog thread or in the other blog thread that I now open for the other summer reading modern odysseys.