Title: The Immortalists
Author: Chloe Benjamin
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Date Started: January 11, 2018
Date Finished: January 13, 2018
*I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
This book was not at all what I was expecting, in a surprising way. When I read the description, I was thinking more along a mystical journey with drama and magic playing a large roll in driving the story. But it was quite the opposite. The Immortalists provides an intimate look into family relationships and the power of an idea.
This novel starts with four young siblings messing around one summer. They decide to see a fortune teller who claims to be able to tell you the day you will die. The story then follows the lives of each of the siblings individually, starting with the youngest and ending with the eldest. Simon moves to San Francisco in order to explore his sexuality, Klara becomes a magician (“The Immortalist”), Daniel is a doctor for the army, and Varya studies longevity in primates.
Going into the book, I was most excited for Varya’s story, as it is still fairly uncommon to have female scientists as prominent characters in stories, at least characters that are portrayed convincingly. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Klara’s the most. All four of the stories, but hers especially, exuded this feeling of dread and impending doom. Nothing specific about the story brought this about. It was more the background knowledge of their death clock. And then, after the completion of their story, the wonder “would this still have happened if they hadn’t heard the prophecy?” There was this ambiguity that could go either way. Did the fortune teller predict things, or did the children make her predictions come true? And for that, I really enjoyed the novel.
And on a complete side note, I loved one of the names so much in the book, I gave it to my new baby guinea pig. Meet Rubina 🙂
Overall, 3/5 moose