By Hernàn Huarache Mamani
Translated into Italian by Anna Montanari
Published by Edizioni Piemme
Atao is a curandero - a traditional folk healer or shaman in Latin America - invited to hold a seminar in Milan. Aurora, a young Italian doctor interested in alternative healing practices, is a member of his audience. As soon as their eyes meet, they feel a spark of recognition. It is not clear why or how they’re meant to be together but they know that they have to.
The passion that Atao awakens in her is so strong that, when the curandero returns to his home country, Aurora decides to leave everything behind her and follow him to Peru. What comes next, however, is not a love story in the strictest sense.
What they embark upon is a path of discovery. Atao, more experienced in the rituals and the symbolism used to thank and revere the land, the water and the other elements, is a great source of learning for Aurora. In turn, she soon finds a certain predisposition and affinity with the mysteries of the universe that will complement and enhance his knowledge.
I first learnt of Hernàn Huarache Mamani and his book - whose title translates as The Prophecy of the Sun - during an interview with the author that I followed on Twitter. He was talking about the new era that we are approaching and the way we need to change, which immediately caught my interest. I simply had to read the book*.
Now that I have, I have mixed feelings about it. The narrative is easy to follow – even though at times I found it too unbelievable to take it seriously - but it raises questions rather than giving answers, which is what I was personally hoping for. It is a book that I will definitely give as present to friends who have yet to question the way we are leading our lives but not to others who, like me, are now looking for more.
It is clear that the author knows his subject inside out - which often gave Atao an air of know-it-all that didn’t help him be a very lovable character - and I would be extremely interested in reading a work of non-fiction by him. Despite there certainly being a right audience for this book the way it is, I think that, with a different format, it would have ticked more of my boxes.
*The book doesn't seem to be currently available in English.