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Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin releases 1/9/18 from G.P. Putnam's Sons 

Inside Front Cover: 
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:
You've heard the question before and maybe even given it some serious consideration: "If you could know the date of your death, would you want to know it?" Maybe the date of your death was tomorrow and you would want to make the most of every moment today. Or maybe your date is 50 years from now and you decide to go skydiving tomorrow because have a renewed sense of safety in all that you do. The Immortalists begins with four children being told the dates of their deaths and the novel unfolds to show what they do with that information. 

Author Chloe Benjamin has written an enjoyable novel about controlling the quality of your own life. You will find yourself reflecting on your own life at various points in the book and you are bound to be drawn to one of the characters more than others due to their diverse story lines. I think this would be a great book club choice because there is a lot to discuss about the characters as well as big ideas like fate, personalities, and family bonds. This was one of the Editor's Picks at Book Expo and I was intrigued by a storyline surrounding the "would you want to know" question. I'm not sure I would have chosen it myself and while I enjoyed reading it, I would rate it as "ok" or "average" (not bad, but not great either). 


Judy Krueger said...

OK, good to know. I have been seeing quite the buzz about this one.

Carmen said...

Too bad it didn't deliver because its premise is very intriguing.

Rhiannon Johnson said...

I think maybe the buzz is the problem. It was an enjoyable read but I'm not sure about the endless praise and acclaim. To be honest, I feel like a lot of the buzz is because the author is a "bright young thing". Beautiful, blonde, and young.