4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever experienced that inexplicable feeling of familiarity towards a person, place, or thing that you have encountered for the first time? Psychology has a term for it: déjà vu. Believers in reincarnation explain this as mainly due to the recall of a memory from a previous life. Yes, you heard correctly. You have existed before as another person, in another place, and in another time.
The book Yesterday by Samyann dwells on this subject: reincarnation or transmigration, as alternately called. It narrates how the present-day life of Amanda Parker, being replete with incidents of déjà vu, got unraveled, with the help of her aunt, Mary. Mary Axelrod, a psychologist by profession, hypnotically regressed Amanda to relive certain years of her past life in an attempt to establish her prior connection to Mark Patrick Callahan, a mounted policeman of the Chicago Police Department, whom she happened to save from certain death during a train accident. Amanda and Mark mutually felt déjà vu for each other, as well as for an antique grandfather clock, and for the clock’s chiming. Perhaps it was just as a token of gratitude that Mark began caring for Amanda after that incident, but eventually they got romantically linked. Amanda has something to gain from this. The propensity of Mark for research on the internet proved invaluable for the discovering of more relevant facts. Would regressing Mark finally reveal how he figured in Amanda’s past life?
Samyann did well in piecing together the various elements of the story. Presumably, intensive research came into play in assigning the events to their proper chronology, and in establishing the historicity of the places and personages involved. It becomes more interesting as the author developed the narrative against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the Chicago Fire, and even straying to places of interest like the St Michael’s Church, or the Lincoln Park and the cemetery therein.
Among other things, I noted the added effort of the story to make the readers experience the local flavor of the era by providing tidbits of information, no matter how these may appear innocuous to the whole theme. For instance, the dessert, fed to the Confederate soldiers known as “Idiot’s Delight” was mentioned with the corresponding recipe. How to make the Confederate Candle was likewise elaborated. Then thoughtfulness of Samyann indubitably showed when at the close of the story, notes were provided to further enlighten the reader regarding some aspects which might sound baffling. A case in point is the reference to streets which are ablaze or on fire. This is the case with Chicago’s Gold Coast Wooden Alley that burned during the fire because it was paved with wood blocks and covered with tar.
Reincarnation as a concept may have been by now accepted by many Westerners. Then, this book, having such as its subject matter, could just be apt and timely. In fact, there had been other interesting books on this subject, and one mentioned herein is that of Edgar Cayce. I enjoin the reader to also try reading Lobsang Rampa. Just a speculation, those of you with Christian upbringing, would you be averse to the idea that before the Final Judgment, your spirit may be allowed to take on other bodies to be reborn with and have other trials in other lifetimes? This is the essence of reincarnation that those belonging to the major Asian religions, namely, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism have incorporated in their belief.
I am not averse to giving Yesterday a rating of 4 out of 4 stars The errors I encountered, grammatical or otherwise were too few to mention. Perhaps, should I be made to review the same in my next reincarnation, my rating will stand the same. I recommend this book to those who have a sense of history and a heart for romance.
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