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.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735213180
Characteristics: 346 pages ; 24 cm


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Barrie_Teen_Lists Mar 24, 2021


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin follows the lives of 4 siblings: Varya, Simon, Daniel, and Klara who are in possession of the date they are supposedly supposed to die. One day in 1969, the 4 siblings discover a mysterious fortune teller who is supposedly able to predict the date of people’s deaths and ask her to predict their deaths. After this point, the story splits into four parts that go over the lives of each of the siblings until their deaths. Simon explores the idea that he is not happy living in a location that mocks him for being gay, so he decides to move to San Francisco to live his dream life. Klara moves to San Francisco with Simon as well to try to become a famous magician. Daniel, depressed that he lost his job decides to investigate whether or not the fortune teller was right about his sibling's deaths all along, and Varya who tries to find the solution to eternal life.

What I enjoyed about the book is how the main characters all reacted towards their supposed deaths differently. Simon became very careless, believing that he would die soon anyway, he might as well enjoy life while he can. Klara takes her death and reacts to it like she believes that it is true, even though she had the choice to not commit suicide, she did it anyway because she believed it was her destiny. Daniel didn’t believe it at first but as his siblings continued to die at the dates predicted, he started to doubt himself and begun to believe that it was true. Finally, Varya believed none of it but tried to find the solution to long life, sacrificing her life in the process. All the characters sound like real human beings and did realistic things. What is also interesting is what would have happened if the siblings did not tell each other about their deaths, considering the fortune teller told each of them not to. They would probably have been superstitious about the dates and dismiss them. Causing none of them to die on those dates. As one death led to another. Only Varya realized this at the end and decided to stop caring so much about living forever as she knew you cannot control when it happens.

What I did not think was as good about the story was that it took a while before the story started to get interesting in my opinion. Simon’s part wasn’t the best. While I enjoyed Simon as a character, the plot that occurred felt unnecessary and focused way too much on his sexual experiences and didn’t focus as much on the other aspects of his life. I wish the author made the book longer so that each of the four characters could have gotten longer parts so that their stories could have been fleshed out more about what they have done with their lives and how they reacting to their impending doom.

This book is for people who like to explore the psychological aspect of people who learn knowledge that they would not benefit from knowing and how each of them treats the death of those they know and themselves differently.

Feb 10, 2021

Very interesting story about 4 siblings and how they lived and died and dealt with death in their family.
Sad and stirring.

Jul 21, 2020

Surprised this has so many great reviews considering it just couldn't grab me which was disappointing. Though there is potential for a great story line, the style of writing deterred me from wanting to finish this novel. After giving a fair chance, I decided to return with hopes that someone else will enjoy it more than I will.

Apr 27, 2020

Interesting idea for a story. I enjoyed the different perspectives and representations of each character.

Mar 02, 2020

A well written story about how four children grew up altered by their fortunes foretold.

CCPL_Carly Feb 03, 2020

In her second novel, Chloe Benjamin has crafted a thought- provoking masterpiece which will have readers questioning every character's path. Though there is some graphic content early in the book, this would be an intriguing choice for open-minded book groups interested in tackling philosophical questions about life choices, destiny, and what happens after we die.

Nov 27, 2019

Fantastic! Thought-provoking. This book was a real page-turner which I find to be a rarity. So well researched! You never doubted for a minute the verisimilitude of the story. Looking forward to reading more from this young woman. ☺

Oct 31, 2019

ugghhh.... a great concept and story-line wasted by a frustrating style and underdeveloped characters. Not sure how this received such positive reviews - was sadly let down.

Aug 23, 2019

This was a fantastic read. I felt the characters were well developed and relatable and there were many valuable questions being asked throughout the course of this novel. I would highly suggest this for book clubs as there is so much to unpack within these pages. Benjamin explores sexual identity, mental health, and even religion in a meaningful way.

Aug 16, 2019

While this is a well written book with compelling characters, the strength of this book lies in the complicated relationships among siblings, particularly among the four siblings in this book. They are close in thought while distant in geography and action. Regret about behavior among siblings, a prominent theme in this book, is very common but usually dwarfed by vast literature regarding spouses and parent-child relationships. We spend our most sensitive and formative years with our siblings and then must separate and lead individual lives. It seems a lot simpler among primates and other animal species than among humans.

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Apr 25, 2019

iujigga2003 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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