Book Review: The Archer by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s latest work, The Archer, published in 2020, is a short guide book that revolves around wisdom, passion, and life achievement. These themes are mostly used in Coelho’s other works, which give us lessons for our daily life.


The story begins when a stranger arrives to a village asking for a great archer named Tetsuya, who is known as a carpenter. Tetsuya, who had never revealed his true identity to anyone for being an archer, agrees to have a challenge with the stranger in archery. So, the two went towards the mountains, accompanied by a young boy, who have in turn many questions in mind.


That is the first part of the story. The second part is a couple of sayings and instructional teachings told by the “master of archery” Tetsuya to the boy, along with many beautiful illustrations by Christoph Niemann.


When I began reading the first pages of the book, I thought that this book contained instructions just for someone who loves to learn about archery. However, I discovered later on that the book is actually related to me.


Tetsuya, who is the main character in this story, represents the author himself. Paulo Coelho said in an interview that he learned archery, and so he wrote about his experience, “At the end of the day, it is life. You learn by living your life fully,” he said. And, at the end of the interview, Coelho hoped that people “use The Archer to help them learn the basics of life."


The author begins his teachings in the book with the saying: “The time has come, therefore, to meet your bow, your arrow, your target, and your way,” thus he used his teachings on archery, metaphorically, to represent his motivational guidelines, like for example, the arrow, that represents a person’s hard work and efforts, must be placed in the “right position,” so it would hit the main target, which represents, as the author depicts, a goal or a dream. This main point of the book really drew my attention, and led me to focus more of my goals in life, and the way to reach them, so I read closely every step that the author is pointing to, and it was like listening to my own heart, and finding out that I can achieve anything, by just believing in myself, and my own abilities.


Also, Tetsuya teaches the boy many aspects in archery: Allies, the Arrow, the Bow, the Target, Posture, how to hold the bow, and many other points. Moreover, in these points, the author poses innumerable lessons, which the reader will take as a rule in life, such as, the intention to reach the target, practicing and developing oneself, take risks even though you may fail, and to always be around people “who are not afraid to make mistakes…” and much more.


Paulo Coelho provides his guidelines with a simple language and with a great amount of moral lessons. He stated a main point that sums up the whole book: “choose your target, do your best, have a goal in your life to hit it,” and that is through going into the “way of the bow” which Coelho describes as “the way of joy and enthusiasm, of perfection and error, of technique and instinct.”


Personally, I found The Archer to be motivational and encouraged me to move forward, and to chase my dreams no matter what, and this next quote from the book says it all: “You will learn from the farmer to have patience, to work hard, to respect the seasons, and not to curse the storms, because it would be a waste of time.”


The book was inspiring, especially during the lockdown, where I focused on developing myself in writing and reading by taking the required steps for that, and this book is the perfect guide to get motivated on whatever someone is wishing to be in the coming future.


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