The Immortalists

The Immortalists

Book - 2018
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It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children--four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness--sneak out to hear their fortunes. Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735213180
0735213186
Characteristics: 346 pages ; 24 cm

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How would your life change if you knew the date on which you will die? This is the premise of Chloe Benjamin’s novel, The Immortalists. It follows the lives of the Gold Family from 1960’s New York City to San Francisco in the 1980’s, Vegas in the ‘90s, to the present day in Upstate New York, and everything in between. The trajectory of the lives of the Gold siblings is permanently altered when they meet a psychic who reveals to each of them the date they will die. Benjamin takes us along for the ride as they grow from curious and innocent children in the summer of 1969, to adults with full and complex lives. One by one, we discover how their lives unfold, and how knowing when the end will come both burdens and frees them in unimaginable ways. Benjamin tackles the question of fate with clarity and heart, and I highly recommend The Immortalists for fans of thought-provoking, sweeping family sagas. (Submitted by Sarah J.)

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beaches4evr
Nov 17, 2018

All of the reviews have some truth to them. It is a well-written book with an interesting premise.

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Memawrayne
Nov 14, 2018

An interesting story about a family and their relationship to each other.

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Morganz68
Oct 31, 2018

This story kept my curiosity peaked enough to finish it, but I found it quite depressing. And it left something left unanswered which drives me insane. It was an okay read, but not sure I would recommend it.

Hillsboro_AnnieS Oct 22, 2018

If you knew the date that you were going to die, how would it affect your life? This is the central question that the four Gold sibling grapple with after visiting a Roma woman who tells them each in turn, their own death-date. The book is told in four parts, one for each sibling. Set in New York City, San Francisco, and the American Southwest we follow the lives of each sibling as adults and witness how this terrible knowledge effects each of them differently. This wonderful novel has a touch of magical realism which will appeal to those who have enjoyed Jhumpa Lahiri and Téa Obreht.

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lib_kent
Oct 16, 2018

This book illustrates the pitfalls and advantages of knowing the date of your demise from an early age. You can use the knowledge to wrest every bit of joy from life while you have the chance, or you can be paralyzed into living an uncommitted life, unable to tether yourself strongly to those you know you will lose.

KateHillier Sep 24, 2018

It's 1969 and there's a woman who can tell you the date of your death. Four siblings go and find out theirs. What follows is their stories of how they live, or don't live, based on that date. You wonder how much of their choices is shaped by that date, a date that could be totally made up but what if it isn't? It's a simple enough concept but powerful in its own way as you trace tragedy and different places and times through the siblings.

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naturepod
Sep 17, 2018

A great read for a rainy weekend. I was particular entranced by Simon's section, which unfortunately, ended pretty quickly. The rest was a little bit boring, and I found myself skipping pages or simply not paying attention whatsoever. However, I appreciate the idea behind the book, and I am looking forward to reading Chloe Benjamin's other book as well.

Overall, I enjoyed the premise, and though it took me awhile to drop into her cadence, Benjamin's writing was captivating enough to keep me reading.

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lovebugs95
Sep 16, 2018

I could not put this book down. I was engrossed with the tale of these four siblings and what would happen to them. This book made me evaluate how we should enjoy every moment and seize the day.

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talk2terih
Sep 02, 2018

Is how we die destiny or a self-fulfilled prophecy? That is the question the reader must ask himself as the tales of 4 siblings of the Gold family unfold

The premise the author presents is interesting. If we know the date of our death, how will it alter and inform our behavior throughout our lives. The four siblings around whom the tale centers visit a fortune teller as very young children. The fortune teller gives each child, separately, the date they will die. As they grow into adulthood, each carries this knowledge with them and it shapes their lives, always a factor in the life choices they make, and is a different type of burden for each one of them.

It proves to be a hard knowledge for the siblings and sometimes blinds them to their own self interest, particularly as their predicted dates get closer.

This book is dark and not particularly happy, although there are happy moments. I came away from it feeling relieved that I don't have to carry the burden of knowing the date of my death, and feeling that I have some control (illusory as that feeling may be) over my fate.

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