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The Immortalists Hardcover – January 9, 2018
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An Amazon Best Book of January 2018: The Immortalists doesn’t seem like a second novel: it has all the unexpected brilliance of a debut hit, combined with the assured style and long-sighted wisdom you’d expect from an older, more experienced writer. But author Chloe Benjamin is – astonishingly -- only 28 years old, and her ambitious and deeply moving novel sets a high standard for realistic fiction in 2018 – and it’s only January. Benjamin tells the story of four teenage siblings who, on a lark, ask a fortuneteller to reveal the dates of their deaths. Whether that fortuneteller is a con artist or is genuinely gifted with second sight doesn’t interest Benjamin so much as how one piece of possibly spurious information conspires with character and circumstance to warp the siblings’ choices as they grow into adulthood. Along the way, Benjamin poses intriguing questions about the value of longevity and whether we are victims, or perpetrators, of our own fates. Though Benjamin is wary of magical thinking, her omniscient writing casts a masterful spell that will leave you eager to see what her third novel will bring. --Sarah Harrison Smith, Amazon Book Review
#1 Indie Next Pick
#1 LibraryReads Pick
Entertainment Weekly’s “Must-read Books for 2018”
Elle’s “19 of the Best Books to Read This Winter”
Harper's Bazaar’s “10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018”
Southern Living's “Books Coming Out This Winter That We Can’t Wait to Read”
Martha Stewart Living, “On Our Bookshelf”
InStyle's “10 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018”
The Huffington Post's “60 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018”
W Magazine's "10 Unconventional New Books About Love For Valentine's Day"
Popsugar’s “25 Must-Read Books for Fall”
Bustle's “35 Most-Anticipated Fiction Books of 2018”
Nylon's “50 Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2018”
Goop's “12 Books for Winter Break”
BookPage's “Most Anticipated Fiction of 201”
Book Riot's “101 Books Coming Out in 2018 That You Should Mark Down Now”
HelloGiggles' “Most Anticipated Books of 2018”
PureWow's “20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018”
Goodreads' “Most Anticipated Books of 2018”
Book Riot's “Most Anticipated Books of January 2018”
TimeOut's “Eleven New Books to Read This Month”
“A literary page-turner...A really compelling plotline.”—Wall Street Journal
“The only real magic here is Benjamin’s storytelling....Poignant...A testimony of love.”—Washington Post
“[An] amazing work of fiction...A dense, yet beautifully spun and satisfying tale that spans 50 years...Spare, yet gorgeously robust prose...and every page is imbued with [Benjamin’s] obvious storytelling skill....Begin 2018 with the book that could easily retain the year’s top spot, The Immortalists is a can’t-put-down, makes-you-think tale of a not-so-average American family.”—Associated Press
“The book spans decades, touching on the AIDs crisis, 9/11, race, and marriage. But, at its core, it’s an examination of free will and fate.” –The New Yorker
“The reader will likely be thoroughly taken by the world of the Gold siblings, in all its shades of brilliant color. It's not a totally comfortable realm, since we know all too well how this tale's going to end, but getting there is lovely.”—NPR.org
“Search no further for your inaugural 2018 book club pick.”—Elle
"A compelling family drama."—Esquire
“Centered on four siblings and spanning decades, The Immortalists asks a seemingly simple yet unimaginably complex question: If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? The search for the answer makes for a sprawling, enchanting family saga.”—Entertainment Weekly (Must-List)
“Chloe Benjamin's family saga deftly explores destiny versus choice.”—US Weekly
“A family saga about love, destiny, living life and making choices that will cause readers to consider what to do with the time given them on this earth.”—The Huffington Post
“Benjamin’s tale is propulsive and colorful, capturing moving truths about the way we handle the knowledge that we all eventually die. . . . The premise . . . is brilliant and simple.”—Chicago Tribune
“Chloe Benjamin is a novelist to watch....The Immortalists weaves together philosophy and fortune-telling, to great effect....As deft and dizzying as a high-wire act...the reader is beguiled with unexpected twists and stylish, crisp prose....Unwittingly, this ambitious, unorthodox tale may change you too.”—The Economist
“As you follow [the siblings] toward their fates in this magical family saga, you’ll appreciate the unexpected in your own life.”—Redbook
“A moving novel about the deep bonds of family.”—Southern Living
“Beautifully written and intricately detailed, it's impossible to put down and sure to be one of those books you've got to re-read again and again.”—Popsugar
“Intriguing premise...Beautifully written story.”—AARP
“Suspenseful, compassionate, inquisitive, and wholly captivating.”—Bustle
"Continually ratcheting up the tension...A Jewish-American family saga.”—Newsday
“Magical...There are moments as taut as a thriller, where time disappears as you turn pages; and passages of quiet compassion.”—The Seattle Times
“[Benjamin] casts a spell with...her affecting family saga."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A sweeping epic that will enchant you from cover to cover.”—Paste Magazine
“A page turner, as addictive as it is emotionally searing...Captivating, moving and addictive. It makes you think, feel, fall in love, and question how to best live your days left on earth.”—Lambda Literary
"An intriguing setup for an immersive family saga."—Toronto Star
“Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists is the very best kind of literary thriller, its suspense deriving from characters we care about deeply and surprises that feel embedded in our shared humanity. As profound a meditation on destiny as readers are likely to encounter.”—Richard Russo
“For someone who loves stories about brothers and sisters, as I do, The Immortalists is about as good as it gets. A memorable and heartfelt look at what might happen to a family who knows too much. It's amazing how good this book is.”—Karen Joy Fowler
“A beautiful, compassionate, and even joyful novel. Chloe Benjamin has written an inspiring book that makes you think hard about what you want to do with the time you’re given. This is not really a book about dying—it's a book about how to live.”—Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
Top customer reviews
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This story starts off in New York in 1969 when we meet the four Gold children - Varya is 13, Daniel is 11, Klara is 9 and Simon is 7. They come from a religious Jewish family and they are close to both mother and father.
The novel begins as the children have heard about a psychic that may be nearby who supposedly can predict the date that someone is going to die. Varya, the most cautious of the four kids is hesitant to go but agrees to go with them and they do manage to find this woman. They meet with her individually, and she tells them each the day they will die.
It is unclear, at the start, whether or not the children have shared this information with each other. We know that some of the kids are upset, in particular young Simon, but even Klara and Daniel seem taken aback. We do find out right away that Varya has been told she will have a very long life.
The book is then divided into four different sections, which follow the lives of each of the four children. We find out what happens to each one and whether or not the psychic was right about the date of their death. We obviously don't find this out until their various section ends.
I really don't want to give away more of the plot other than to say that we gradually learn what each of the children were told, and more importantly, we do learn how the prophecy may affected their lives.
This book was exceptional for me for several reasons. I read a lot of books and have to say that this one was really unique; what a clever plot idea - exploring how the knowledge (or even the fear of it being true) of one's date of death can affect how one lives their life and whether this knowledge becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy or whether it can easily be changed by one's own choices and free-will.
I feel like I am not doing this novel justice by this short review. The book really does explore so many different aspects of life such as questions about living life to your fullest and taking chances or instead playing it safe and living longer. Not easy answers really, although the book can be a little heavy-handed to the latter in one case.
So really, the book and each chapter or section pose different answers or views to the question of whether or not it's better to know when our lives will end and just what consequences that could ensue. It's really an intriguing question and to her credit the author does not throw out a one-for-all answer.
Each of the Gold children have unique personalities, told well, and this book was really hard to put down once I started it. There were a few moments where I didn't necessarily buy into what was happening and thought perhaps the author was pushing the action to fit the plot but the pluses so overwhelmed any negatives.
Recommended. I think this would make a great selection for book clubs.
There's a lot of sadness in The Immortalists but ther's even more love, love between these four brothers and sisters and their mother Gertie who's their rock and their nemesis in the same way their Jewish heritage comforts and repels them. Most touching is the connection between them even as they're busy hating and criticizing one another they're also loving with ferocity. I hope others enjoy this book as much as I did. I know the cliche of calling a book a page turner is over used but in this case it's fitting.
Word on the streets says a traveling psychic is in town. It's 1969 in New York City -- and the four Gold kids want their fortunes read by this woman. But not only does she tell the future; most important to the Gold children is she will tell them the dates of their deaths.
The kids sneak out and go see the psychic who does, indeed, reveal their death dates. But the Golds keep this information to themselves. Then, author Chole Benjamin, takes readers through the lives of each of the four children.
So, we have basically four parts to the book as the travels, lives, and journeys of the four Gold children are told. Will they keep their dates with death? Do they even think about the psychic or believe her?
For me, the book started out gangbusters. I loved the first two stories of Simon and Klara. But when I arrived at the last two stories of Daniel and Varya, the book seemed to take a twist toward the odd and sort of boring adventures of these two siblings. For me, it was a disappointing last half of the book. However, this is just my personal reaction to this book.
The writing is good and the characters are very down-to-earth and fleshed-out. The plot and idea of meeting a psychic who can perhaps tell you the day you will die was intriguing to me. However, the book fell short of MY expectations.
The book was not bad, it was just okay for me. Others have found this a very good read; perhaps you will too.