Score: 3/5 Bookmarks
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is four individual stories. They are linked by the fact that each story is about a different sibling from the same family, with the common thread that weaves the stories together being an early childhood trip to a fortune teller who predicted the dates that each of them would die. I don’t want to give any spoilers, and the suspense of wanting to find out what happens to each of them is what kept me turning the pages.
I will say that I felt there were a lot of relationships, themes and events that were introduced and then not really followed through on which left me feeling frustrated. I feel like each one of the stories could have been fleshed out into independent books to provide a lot more depth and character development. I wanted to know more about the grandmother, the FBI agent, the family of gypsies. They were all introduced as being significant, but then not really developed further.
The book has such a strong sense of loss throughout that it was fairly depressing overall, and I don’t know that I can say I really ‘enjoyed’ it — but a week later I am still thinking about the four stories, the characters and trying to find ways to tie up loose ends in my own mind. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though I didn’t feel like I loved the book, it has certainly stayed with me.
If you’ve read The Immortalists, I’d love to know what you think. Let me know in the comments.
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
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.
The 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; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, 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.