Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

February 9, 2018
The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons on January 9, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (352 pages)
Genre: Contemporary/ Fantasy/ Adult
Series: Standalone
Source: Giveaway Win
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.



I've never read a book that followed siblings lives throughout time. This book is written in the perspective of  Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya and how each chooses to live after learning the day they will die. The Gold children are raised by Jewish immigrants and deal with what happens as life leads them away from each other. The characters were well laid out and the emotional turmoil they faced was palpable. There's a lot of ways that you can decide to live or limit your life out of fear. Each  of these siblings struggle between living a life that makes them happy and a life that makes them safe.
"You want the right to be as careless as any other white guy--any straight one. But your not any other white guy. And that's why this place is so dangerous: because it lets you forget that."
The characters were relateable and recounted their vices as they struggled to get through what was hard throughout time. The prose was beautiful and the magical realism worked seamlessly with what else was going on. There was a gratuitous amount of sex that that didn't always work with the narrative but wasn't distracting. All of the characters were memorable and genuine, giving different perspectives of how we love people and ourselves.
"But I think we do have control--so much that it scares us to death. As a species,  God might be the greatest gift we've given ourselves. The gift of sanity."
This book explores how far you can go following someone else's rules before you realize you should have your own. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy reading about families and adult subject matters. I was moved by these characters and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 


Chloe Benjamin is the author of THE IMMORTALISTS, a New York Times Bestseller, #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2018, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, #1 Library Reads pick, and Amazon Best Book of the Month.

Her first novel, THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS (Atria, 2014), received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Her novels have been translated into over twenty-three languages. A graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin, Chloe lives with her husband in Madison, WI.

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