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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A captivating family saga.”—The New York Times Book Review
“This literary family saga is perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Donna Tartt.”—People Magazine (Book of the Week)
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
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.
The 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; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The Immortalists was a perfect book to bring on vacation. It’s the story of four siblings whose lives veer in wildly different directions after a close-knit childhood spent in a small New York City apartment, and it’s riveting from start to finish. Chloe Benjamin fully immerses us in each of her characters’ experiences, dropping us into the seedy glamour of a San Francisco nightclub, the hardscrabble world of professional magicians, and a state-of-the-art lab specializing in anti-aging research using primates. Bursting with color and heartache, Benjamin’s novel celebrates the messiness of life.
In her second novel, Benjamin (The Anatomy of Dreams) constructs an imaginative and satisfying family saga. In 1969, the four rambunctious Gold children, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya, visit a psychic on Manhattan's Lower East Side who predicts the date each of them will die. The novel then follows how the siblings deal with news of their expiration dates. In the late '70s, Klara and Simon, the youngest, run off to San Francisco, where the closeted Simon becomes a dancer and Klara a magician and stage illusionist who believes she can commune with the spirits of dead relatives. In 2006, Daniel, a married army doctor based in Kingston, N.Y., learns that the psychic who foretold their fates is a con artist wanted by the FBI, and attempts to track her down. In 2010, Varya, the eldest Gold, is a longevity researcher who feels closest to the rhesus monkeys she uses for her experiments. But one day, a journalist named Luke interviews her and, in the process, changes the course of her life. The author has written a cleverly structured novel steeped in Jewish lore and the history of four decades of American life. The four Gold siblings are wonderful creations, and in Benjamin's expert hands their story becomes a moving meditation on fate, faith, and the family ties that alternately hurt and heal.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is my favorite books of all time. Such a good story, always recommend.
This story was insanely captivating. It was dark but ultimately left me happy to have gained such powerful insight. I can’t stop thinking about this book, and I think The Immortalists will be moving high on my list of favorites.
There were interesting parts but overall it just didn’t come together. The whole premise of the Gypsy predicting dates of death for the four sibs felt contrived and a little silly.