Promethea is a fictive work of literature that blends historical facts with a soupçon of whodunit. When reading the opening quote, I felt compelled toPromethea is a fictive work of literature that blends historical facts with a soupçon of whodunit. When reading the opening quote, I felt compelled to recite the words out loud. The sound of my own voice gave me chills. The author depicts sceneries so impeccably that it makes you dwell deep into the narrator’s thoughts. Up until the end of the first chapter, I felt compelled to narrate the lines myself, as though I was the chronicler’s embodiment. The author reveals his talent in portraying minutiae since the very first pages of the book. He paints a vivid canvas of the narrator’s hands holding a blue rosary, one that led me to imagine slim, slender hands with perfect fingers, manicured nails, a rather porcelain white skin holding turquoise blue beads. The cliché was welded in my thoughts and I could not help but sketch the narrator’s palm holding the rosary. The writer plunges us into his characters’ contemplations in such an imposing way that you cannot help but identify with their situation. In the first pages of the novel, the narrator is immersed by conspicuous sentiments that attract you into her state of being:
“I felt a numb ecstasy by the flurry of flashbacks that forced themselves into the back of my head.”
Throughout the book, Abougabal bequeaths historical references starting with Zopyrus the Persian nobleman. This reference directly steered my thoughts to the common beliefs attributing all evil to Satan. I could not help but think of the psychological depths of the story. We often tend to deny the obscurities in us, what Freud calls the death drive, the Thanatos instinct. This personification is derived from the daemon personification of death and evil, Thanatos. It allegedly compels humans to engage in risky and self-destructive acts that could lead to their own death. However, humans often abstract all malevolent traits from their attributes, to the benefit of Eros, the life instinct, the desire to create life and favors productivity and construction. We often neglect the fact that both instincts are necessary for the development of a healthy psyche. Both darkness and light are necessary for the completion of a full circle. The second reference is no other than the tower of Babylon. Abougabal uses the relationship between humans and the tower, illustrating the battle, blood, the sound of swords and Zopyrus’ mutilated self in a suave style, highlighting the importance of symbolism. The author graciously transports us from 500 BC to modern times, from historical epic battle scenes to the narrator’s reality. Aside from the accurate historical research, the writer uses precise geographic locations to symbolically link travel and arrival to closure. Throughout the chapters, the narrator does not spare sharing with us philosophical existential questions that each and every reader would relate to. “Are our sufferings so miniscule that they go by unnoticed?” The author does not bargain when it comes to his characters’ delineation. Throughout the chapters, even the background actors are given meticulous silhouettes that help the reader explore the different dimensions of every chap’s psychological and physical dimensions. Aside from his gift for tell-tailing past events, Abougabal has the power to plunge his reader into a future projection of events. His words have the ability to fixate you, as though the thirst for discovering the course of events is unquenchable. Promethea stands out as the author’s first novel for its pedantic welding of events, as well as its ability to transport you through a voyage that joins scientific efforts to religious symbolism in the procreation of a futuristic projection of consciousness.