Having previously read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I felt compelled to read his latest book The Archer. As with The Alchemist, Coelho’s writing strives to inspire the reader, in this case, through the metaphor of practicing archery.
The story starts off with a foreigner seeking Tetsuya, who is known as the most gifted archer in the country. However, Tetsuya has retired and lives in a remote village as a carpenter. Upon finding him, thanks to the help of a local village boy, the foreigner manages to challenge Tetsuya to see who is truly a master with a bow and arrow. When he fails to hit a target because the circumstances are different from what he was used to, the foreigner leaves disappointed. However, the local village boy is impressed with what he has seen Tetsuya do and asks him to train him.
As they walk back home, Tetsuya shares quick lessons with the boy, but they are not exactly tips and tricks on how to hold a bow and arrow. Rather, he offers him advice on how to mentally approach the practice of archery. Above all, the lessons are to never stop pursuing your goal, have courage, and embrace your failures. It is through these efforts that you will improve in your practice and build a meaningful life. By following his advice, the boy- and the reader- may eventually master archery as well as any other pursuits.
The story is short, and if you need a quick afternoon read to encourage you to take on a new challenge, this might be the book for you. You will find a link to find a copy of this book in English by clicking the arrow in the purple box above, but if like me, you would like to give the Spanish version a try, you can find a link to the Library’s copy here.