The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, 4.5 stars

If I have to be honest, I would tell you that I wasn’t sure if The Immortalists was a book for me. It sounded kind of interesting, but also kind of hokey and I just wasn’t sure it it was really my cup of tea.

I did end up picking it up because I’d seen a couple of reviews that raved about the book and I thought, well, all those people can’t be wrong right? I mean, if I hated it, I didn’t have to finish it. So I picked it up, and it took me on a whirlwind trip through the lives of the 4 Gold children.

And I loved it!

And looking back, it is a very interesting premise, I should have felt that way sooner.

From the Publisher:

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

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.

My Review:

There are probably two types of people in the world, the people who would like to know exactly when they will die and those that would rather not know. But The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin takes that idea further. What would you do if you knew when you were going to die? How would that effect how you live?

The four children learn their fates at a young age. For some of them it’s scary, some don’t believe, and some don’t really even think twice about it. But its all there for all of them. Maybe the fortune teller was right, maybe she wasn’t. And wouldn’t that be torture wondering?

Benjamin takes the reader through the lives and demise of each of the four siblings. It’s a fascinating tale that I thoroughly enjoyed. Despite being related by blood, the four almost feel like strangers to each other because of the vastly different lives they lead. But for each of them, knowing did make huge difference in how they lived and how they dealt with their own mortality.

I really can’t say much without giving details and musings away that I want you to stumble on for yourself. But know that it is a rich story, a memorable story. It’s a tale that has left a lasting impression on me. I’d like to see a movie made from this one!

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