“Prophecy of Love” by T. Satterfield

Prophecy of Love

T. Satterfield
Tamiko Press (2021)
ISBN 9781737786207
Reviewed by Kristina Turner for Reader Views (01/2022)

‘What if I could be happy? I whispered to myself and wondered if I could feel…whole? Alive? Like I mattered? What if there really is something missing in me?’

It’s winter solstice—the darkest day of the year—and Gabe is having a dreadful day. He has realized there’s a stain on his bedroom ceiling; his ex is standing him up again and he cracked his phone screen when hanging up on her after screaming at her in frustration. The big meeting at work has been moved up, and he’s spilled water all over. He realizes his pants don’t even match his jacket, and he’s sweaty and smelly with stress. Just as it looks like things can’t get any worse, he accidently slams a door into his boss’s nose. All he can think about is how he just wants to feel loved; he just wants to feel like he matters to somebody. Anybody.

In a desperate, late-night search for answers, Gabe asks Google for a solution to his solitary life. That’s when he finds the Oracle of Delphi’s webpage and Pythia the High Priestess enters his life. She offers Gabe a deal: he must meet with her several times to learn the truths about love, and be prepared to sacrifice a black ram. In the end, he will have his answers, but he will be foresworn to teach them to others. Hopeless, desperate Gabe agrees to everything.

Gabe’s journey takes the reader through the history, philosophy, and psychology of love. At the moment when Gabe crosses the threshold (in this case, by entering a website) to begin his hero’s journey, he is pitiful, insecure, defensive—even ugly in his desperation. He’s hard to like early on, but you continue to read in order to see if he really can turn himself around. His one redeeming factor is his love for Cat, his tuxedo-colored feline. Their honest and loving relationship gives the reader hope that Gabe is worth knowing.

The metaphysical and emotional journey told takes Gabe, through Pythia’s magic, to talk to great philosophers of love throughout history. We meet, among others, Socrates, John Coltrane, Einstein, Jane Austen—even Gandhi and Dr. Ruth make appearances—while Gabe travels through Heaven, the quantum realm, the set of Family Feud, and sacred locations of several religions. And while the novel can be didactic at times, the reading is always interesting as it deconstructs beliefs about love by utilizing the plotline of Gabe’s growth.

The author’s descriptions are colorful and she makes use of imagery and senses, especially smell, to immerse her readers more deeply in the work. Gabe associates those he loves with individual smells, notices their small, idiosyncratic habits, and acknowledges their connections to him. His myriad of emotions are recognizable; the stages of maturing in love, his fear of intimacy, his fear of loss and grief, his feelings of emptiness, his worry that he is too attached, his abandonment issues, his anger—all of it is familiar, yet outside of us, so that through the book we can recognize our own possible failings and needs in the love department.

Just one final warning…you’ll need a box of tissues for this one. That black ram isn’t going to go over easily.

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