The Immortalists

The Immortalists

A Novel

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]
ISBN: 9780735213180
Characteristics: 346 pages ; 24 cm


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May 21, 2018

This book is interesting due to the business about the predictions of the dates of the Gold siblings' deaths but the book is more about family than anything else. Youngest Simon who shouts "I hate you all" to his siblings as a child, when he goes out to live his live is branded "selfish", Klara who endures some bullying for her love of magic and being the quirky one, as an adult controls her own destiny, Daniel who feels he needs to be the leader and tries to get revenge on the fortune teller, and Varya who as a youngster is so attached to her siblings and is the most detached as an adult.

It's not the fortune teller's predictions that put the siblings at odds though, it the same types of things that put all siblings at odds. The important lesson is that redemption is possible.

May 10, 2018

How will you live your life after someone tells you the exact date you are going to die? That is the question the Gold siblings have to live with after they go see a fortune teller as children. Whether they believe in the prophesy or not, the knowledge cannot be undone and it both unites and separates them as they grow older. A well thought-out novel with interesting characters and much to think about.

May 08, 2018

Four young siblings learn, from someone they believe is psychic, the age at which they will die. This knowledge impacts their lives from that time forward. Each sibling is given their own section of the book, and as each one leads into the next, the story becomes ever more spell-binding. I found the book to be extremely well written. There are some graphic homosexual scenes and if that is something that would bother you, then don't read the book, however our society is built around all of us being individual and unique and in our uniqueness we live our lives accordingly.

May 04, 2018

If I remember correctly (which I may or may not... who knows?!), I didn't necessarily get a personal recommendation for this book but saw a few friends reading it (and noticed it on some "must read" lists) so jumped on the waiting list at the library (PS I normally jump in line at the library for books with long wait lists because I assume they must be good, which is not always the case, but figure people must be waiting for a good reason ;)). Thankfully this long wait panned out because I really enjoyed the book. I had no idea what it was about prior to grabbing it, but it was definitely worth the wait. I liked how the story was told in four different parts (one by each of the Gold children). Each of the characters were so different that it gave the book four different vibes, while still fitting together perfectly. The premise behind the book - knowing the date you will die - was very intriguing. There are definitely some graphic scenes in the beginning (quickly reminding me this was NOT a YA book like most of the other ones I grab), but I didn't think it detracted from the story. I'll be honest, I enjoyed the first two parts better than the last two, but I still couldn't put the book down. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

May 02, 2018

If you knew when you would die, would it change the way you lived? The Immortalists examines this question - along with how those we leave behind are affected by our deaths. It's a story of family, love, life and death. Well written, and insightful to the human condition. You won't regret giving your weekend to this novel.
Edit: I scrolled through some past reviews calling the book 'pornographic' .... that's laughable. Yes, there is some sex early on in the story, but it is far from pornographic.

Apr 25, 2018

After taking on a fascinating premise - four young siblings visit a Gypsy who tells them each the date they will die - Benjamin gives us an epic in miniature of the family drama that ensues. The organization is a bit reminiscent of Kurosawa's "Rashomon," with four separate narratives, one central character in each, and four distinct prose voices. Each character decides differently how to proceed with this information for the rest of their life (whether long or short): "We can choose to live. Or we can choose to survive," as one puts it. Does one become a hedonist and pack as much positive experience in the days remaining, or watch over each day with loving but miserly care? And the question sits behind each story as well - are we being driven into our fate by this knowledge of mortality, or is our fate and our character already set and death irrelevant?
Chloe Benjamin will capture you and draw you in.

Apr 03, 2018

* I wanted to love this book after starting it until I hit the TOO graphic homosexual engagement. Stopped reading right away. There should be a warning on this book about the graphic homosexual sexuality as you read the reviews and think it a wholesome read about siblings and their going forward into the world. * only


JCLAmandaW Mar 28, 2018

Do people have set dates that they will die, or if you are told a certain date for your death, does your behavior with that knowledge lead you towards making that premonition come true? This engaging novel explores that idea with four siblings who learn their dates of death from a psychic in 1969, and follows them as they live their lives with that knowledge.

Michael Colford Mar 21, 2018

Chloe Benjamin's debut is an interesting Jewish family drama about four siblings who as children, visit a local fortune teller who tells each of them the date of their death. After this opening prologue, the book follows the lives of each of the siblings, from the youngest to the oldest. Simon moves to San Francisco with his sister and discovers his life as a gay man and a dancer in the dawn of the AIDS epidemic. Klara seeks out the West Coast to become a stage magician. Daniel settles down and marries in upstate New York, and Varya leads a solitary life as a medical researcher.

Each of their stories is compelling and fairly haunting, and a shroud of sadness does permeate the entire novel. The writing is quite lovely, and Varya's final segment does lead to some needed revelations and observations about life and how we live it. Due to a busy fall, I started this book and flew through the first half, then stalled for the second half, not due to any flaws of the books, and part of me wishes I had made the time to keep going, to finish the book in a more compact timeframe, but at the same time, drawing it out over several months was rewarding as well, and in the end, I quite loved this novel.

JCLMELODYK Mar 19, 2018

I did like this book but I want to share with you who did it better. Ann Patchett's Commonwealth and Ann Packer's The Children's Crusade are both excellent family drama's that explore the connections between siblings and consequences of their parents' actions. Both Patchett and Packer do a better job of getting to the heart of the joy and pain of siblings and the unity born of a shared parentage.

Many readers may enjoy this though for a completely different reason - the suspense. The plot keeps you engaged because you have to know if the psychic's claims about the four siblings comes to pass.

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