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The Archer by [Paulo Coelho, Christoph Niemann, Margaret Jull Costa]
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The Archer Kindle Edition

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


“[Coelho’s] books have had a life-enhancing effect on millions of people.” —The Times (London)
“His writing is like a path of energy that inadvertently leads readers to themselves, toward their mysterious and faraway souls.”  —Le Figaro --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The boy looked at the stranger, startled.

“No one in this city has ever seen Tetsuya holding a bow,” he replied. “Everyone here knows him as a carpenter.”

“Maybe he gave up, maybe he lost his courage, that doesn’t matter to me,” insisted the stranger. “But he cannot be considered to be the best archer in the country if he has abandoned his art. That’s why I’ve been traveling all these days, in order to challenge him and put an end to a reputation he no longer deserves.”

The boy saw there was no point in arguing; it was best to take the man to the carpenter’s shop so that he could see with his own eyes that he was mistaken.

Tetsuya was in the workshop at the back of his house. He turned to see who had come in, but his smile froze when his eyes fell on the long bag that the stranger was carrying.

“It’s exactly what you think it is,” said the new arrival. “I did not come here to humiliate or to provoke the man who has become a legend. I would simply like to prove that, after all my years of practice, I have managed to reach perfection.”

Tetsuya made as if to resume his work: he was just putting the legs on a table.

“A man who served as an example for a whole generation cannot just disappear as you did,” the stranger went on. “I followed your teachings, I tried to respect the way of the bow, and I deserve to have you watch me shoot. If you do this, I will go away and I will never tell anyone where to find the greatest of all masters.”

The stranger drew from his bag a long bow made from varnished bamboo, with the grip slightly below center. He bowed to Tetsuya, went out into the garden, and bowed again toward a particular place. Then he took out an arrow fletched with eagle feathers, stood with his legs firmly planted on the ground, so as to have a solid base for shooting, and with one hand brought the bow in front of his face, while with the other he positioned the arrow.

The boy watched with a mixture of glee and amazement. Tetsuya had now stopped working and was observing the stranger with some curiosity.

With the arrow fixed to the bowstring, the stranger raised the bow so that it was level with the middle of his chest. He lifted it above his head and, as he slowly lowered his hands again, began to draw the string back.

By the time the arrow was level with his face, the bow was fully drawn. For a moment that seemed to last an eternity, archer and bow remained utterly still. The boy was looking at the place where the arrow was pointing, but could see nothing.

Suddenly, the hand on the string opened, the hand was pushed backward, the bow in the other hand described a graceful arc, and the arrow disappeared from view only to reappear in the distance.

“Go and fetch it,” said Tetsuya.

The boy returned with the arrow: it had pierced a cherry, which he found on the ground, forty meters away.

Tetsuya bowed to the archer, went to a corner of his workshop, and picked up what looked like a slender piece of wood, delicately curved, wrapped in a long strip of leather. He slowly unwound the leather and revealed a bow similar to the stranger’s, except that it appeared to have seen far more use.

“I have no arrows, so I’ll need to use one of yours. I will do as you ask, but you will have to keep the promise you made, never to reveal the name of the village where I live. If anyone asks you about me, say that you went to the ends of the earth trying to find me and eventually learned that I had been bitten by a snake and had died two days later.”

The stranger nodded and offered him one of his arrows.

Resting one end of the long bamboo bow against the wall and pressing down hard, Tetsuya strung the bow. Then, without a word, he set off toward the mountains. The stranger and the boy went with him. They walked for an hour, until they reached a large crevice between two rocks through which flowed a rushing river, which could be crossed only by means of a fraying rope bridge almost on the point of collapse.

Quite calmly, Tetsuya walked to the middle of the bridge, which swayed ominously; he bowed to something on the other side, loaded the bow just as the stranger had done, lifted it up, brought it back level with his chest, and fired.

The boy and the stranger saw that a ripe peach, about twenty meters away, had been pierced by the arrow.

“You pierced a cherry, I pierced a peach,” said Tetsuya, returning to the safety of the bank. “The cherry is smaller. You hit your target from a distance of forty meters, mine was half that. You should, therefore, be able to repeat what I have just done. Stand there in the middle of the bridge and do as I did.”

Terrified, the stranger made his way to the middle of the dilapidated bridge, transfixed by the sheer drop below his feet. He performed the same ritual gestures and shot at the peach tree, but the arrow sailed past.

When he returned to the bank, he was deathly pale. “You have skill, dignity, and posture,” said Tetsuya. “You have a good grasp of technique and you have mastered the bow, but you have not mastered your mind. You know how to shoot when all the circumstances are favorable, but if you are on dangerous ground, you cannot hit the target. The archer cannot always choose the battlefield, so start your training again and be prepared for unfavorable situations. Continue in the way of the bow, for it is a whole life’s journey, but remember that a good, accurate shot is very different from one made with peace in your soul.”

The stranger made another deep bow, replaced his bow and his arrows in the long bag he carried over his shoulder, and left.

On the way back, the boy was exultant.

“You showed him, Tetsuya! You really are the best!”

“We should never judge people without first learning to hear and to respect them. The stranger was a good man; he did not humiliate me or try to prove he was better than I am, even though he may have given that impression. He wanted to show off his art and to have it recognized, even though it may have appeared that he was challenging me. Besides, having to confront unexpected trials is part of the way of the bow, and that was precisely what the stranger allowed me to do today.”

“He said that you were the best, and I didn’t even know you were a master archer. So why do you work as a carpenter?”

“Because the way of the bow serves for everything, and my dream was to work with wood. Besides, an archer who follows the way does not need a bow or an arrow or a target.”

“Nothing interesting ever happens in this village, and now suddenly here I am, face-to-face with the master of an art that no one even cares about anymore,” said the boy, his eyes shining. “What is the way of the bow? Can you teach me?”

“Teaching it isn’t hard. I could do that in less than an hour, while we’re walking back to the village. The difficult thing is to practice it every day, until you achieve the necessary precision.”

The boy’s eyes seemed to be begging him to say yes. Tetsuya walked in silence for nearly fifteen minutes, and when he spoke again, his voice sounded younger:

“Today I am contented. I did honor to the man who, many years ago, saved my life, and, because of that, I will teach you all the necessary rules, but I can do no more than that. If you understand what I tell you, you can use those teachings as you wish. Now, a few minutes ago, you called me master. What is a master? I would say that he is not someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to do his best to discover a knowledge he already has in his soul.”

And as they came down the mountain, Tetsuya explained the way of the bow. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B085XKTH89
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf (November 10, 2020)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 10, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 13241 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 112 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,178 ratings

About the author

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Paulo Coelho is the author of &quot;The Alchemist&quot;, he was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Being the author of 30 books that have sold over 320 million copies in 170 countries, he has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. Paulo Coelho has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2007 and this has allowed him to continue to promote intercultural dialogue and to focus on the needs of children. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and the recipient of over 115 awards and honours, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Grinzane Cavour Book Award and the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la L&eacute;gion d’Honneur, to name a few.

Other titles include “The Pilgrimage”, “Brida”, &quot;The Supreme Gift&quot;, “The Valkyries”, “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept”, “Maktub”, “The Fifth Mountain”, “Manual of the Warrior of Light”, “Veronika Decides to Die”, “The Devil and Miss Prym”, “Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren”, “Eleven Minutes”, “The Zahir”, “Like the Flowing River”, “The Witch of Portobello”, “The Winner Stands Alone”, “Aleph”, “Manuscript Found in Accra”, “Adultery”, “The Spy”, “Hippie”. Also “Journey” guided journal.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
3,178 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly metaphorical storytelling
By tbthewriter on November 20, 2020
This is my first book by Coelho, though I have quite a few of his books in my collection. I don’t know what’s taken me so long to read his work, and I can’t say why his newest book is the first I’ve read, but I’m a new fan! “The Archer” can be interpreted in so many ways - as a lesson on life, following your dreams, honing your craft, overcoming your demons - all of these can be takeaways from this elegantly written story.

The illustrations were beautiful, as well. The simplistic - yet highly metaphorical - language within this tale is poetic and inspiring. Coelho has penned a book that I will return to on multiple occasions throughout my life.

I would recommend this book to fans of Coelho, and for readers looking for inspirational prose through the form of fable-like, or almost mythological, storytelling.
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8 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Profound read that will guide you how to master and achieve anything
Reviewed in India on November 23, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Profound read that will guide you how to master and achieve anything
Reviewed in India on November 23, 2020
First and most important thing, please don't start reading this book comparing it with Paulo Coelho's other works. Particularly, The Alchemist.
On one layer, The Archer is a story about archery and how to master archery and be a successful archer. A former Master Archer narattes it to a boy.
On another layer, The Archer is a parable about achieving. Achieving anything - within and outside.
The beauty of this story is, the steps involved in mastering Archery is same as mastering anything.
For an avid reader, it would take just an hour or two to read it. But, each and every page has a deep wisdom that should be meditated upon and followed.
The illustrations makes the reading more interesting.
If you are looking for a book that will help you with mastering and achieving something - either personal or professional, take that goal/target, read this book and apply the principles given in it one by one.
Wishing you the best!
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Colm Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful primer on Zen and the art of archery.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Archer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 29, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Archer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 29, 2020
After reading a couple of Paulo's books I had a certain expectation. I was expecting to be taken on a journey to a new time and place. I was looking for a story woven into history, emotion, dreams and to be painted a vivid picture of a journey.

I was wrong, the book took me less than an hour to read. However once I reached the end, it was then I realised the journey that I had been on. I got lost with getting to the destination without realising or paying attention to the journey I was on.

He writes about a Master archer, the archery does not make him a master but the art of it does. The steps, the meaning, the reason for repetidivnes etc...

At times you go astray but the closer you get to the end of the book the more you begin to understand the master and his way of life. Even without a bow and arrow, he was still the master, the teachings, understanding, patience and virtue are still with you if you choose to accept.

Not a typical Coelho book but one that makes you think and challenges yourself nonetheless. Well worth the read, very thought provoking and opens you up to a different style of story telling/writing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Be warned! Very expensive short story.....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2020
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Mahtab Moteabed
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 11, 2020
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4 people found this helpful
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