A memoirist looks to the great beyond to discover secrets held within.
In the wake of a painful breakup, Loustalot (This Is How You Say Goodbye, 2013, etc.) decided she would take the occasion of a pivotal life closure to engage in extended inquiry into the realm of psychics, astrologers, shamans, and the occult. The author felt that the unmooring of this transitional moment, coupled with her professional journalistic skepticism, made for the perfect atmosphere for questioning the present while remaining open to the future. Loustalot’s study is filled with intriguing encounters with individuals possessing occult talents both real and finely crafted. However, it is the grounding of her inquiry in her reaction to the present political moment (“2017 was a year of trauma”)—and her recognition that while most in the U.S. are still searching for purpose, “we have replaced religion with a vague notion of spirituality”—that lends this personal quest a broader, more sweepingly inclusive cast. As she writes, “2017 laid bare a new, undeniable fact: what we thought in the past was working for our country politically, socially, and empathetically was not.” This colossal misreading of the political climate, ironically, helped Loustalot relax and remain flexible regarding her social and spiritual lives. “I decided to (skeptically) open myself up to the possibility of (wonder) magic,” she writes. By the end of the book—after many trips to various seers and guides—the author is in a very different place, having seen friends hurt by legitimate psychic readings and learning harrowing stories of the vulnerable being swindled by sham mystics. Where she ends up on the divide between proof and faith is fascinating.
Witty and occasionally irreverent, Loustalot’s offbeat account provides probing insight into why we see psychics and, perhaps more importantly, how we listen to what they have to say.