Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 4.75 stars
1969. The Lower East Side of New York. Word has spread through the neighborhood that a fortune teller, known for her ability to tell you the date of your death, is in town. The four Gold siblings seek her out to find out their future and are unexpectedly affected by this knowledge for the rest of their lives. The choices they make, the futures they pursue, and their relationship with each other are all marked by the date they were given.
The Immortalists is separated into sections pertaining to each child: Klara with her pursuit of magic; Simon with his desire to live his fullest life with reckless abandon; Daniel with his resentment and responsibility; and Varya with her quest for the science of immortality. Each story is woven together beautifully, but the story of Daniel is the only flaw in an otherwise almost perfect book due to its elements of predictability. Benjamin intricately weaves together a story that is original, endearing, and filled with vivid and sympathetic characters. I was mesmerized from the very beginning. On top of being a beautifully written story, Benjamin challenges her readers to consider how they would live their lives if they knew the date of their death, as well as whether or not this knowledge causes the fulfillment of that prophecy. What results is a novel that tends to stay with you long after you finished. I read the book in early Fall and I still can't quite shake these characters.
The Immortalists has been featured in several must-read upcoming book lists, including the one here at Killingly Reads.