Chloe Benjamin brings us an emotional novel about a universal question--What if you could find out the date of your death? Would you want to know? Would it change the way you live your life? When Daniel Gold hears the rumor that there's a fortune teller nearby, he convinces his sisters, Varya and Klara to go and find out what their future holds with little brother Simon tagging along. However, this is no ordinary fortune teller, this fortune teller will give you the date of your death. For the Gold children, the answers become complex and yet very simple as they figure out how to live their life with a date that looms over as a blessing or perhaps a burden depending on your views. The Immortalists is a phenomenal story that will draw you into each siblings life and leave you hungry for more.— Jen Steele
On the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 1960s, four children meet a fortune teller, who tells them when each of them is going to die. Do I really need to say any more? The four sections of The Immortalists are told by a different sibling, and the story rockets across the country, veering into emergent gay culture, the world of magicians, a military processing station, and an aging research lab. Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya each must confront a life where free will and destiny collide. Don’t worry, you won’t get whiplash from the twists the story takes, but you will likely fall in love with the Gold family and Chloe Benjamin’s novel, a whip-smart and unexpectedly philosophical story of fate, faith, and family.— Daniel Goldin
This will be an excellent book club book. The narrative is a study in the differences of philosophies: Simon's fatalistic/nihilistic determination; Klara's Determinism; Varya's belief that diligent, perhaps obsessive, organization of life will keep the gypsy woman's prophecy from touching her life - keeping herself hidden in seeming safety, sequestered in science; and Daniel's denial, outfitted with 'blinkers', about his accountability to the role he plays in sending young people into harm's way. We may ask ourselves, and others, whether or not it is the moment by moment decisions we make that comprise the stepping stones toward death.
There is much to discuss in the way of human history, and what it is that causes a human being to view the inevitability of death as a journey, filled with opportunities to exercise free will; or a trek ending at a specific destination in time and space.— Scott Espinoza
THE IMMORTALISTS slowly ripped pieces of my heart away leaving me as wrung out as I’ve ever been after finishing a novel. So OF COURSE you all have to read it for the emotions Chloe Benjamin conjures up, the brilliant narrative structure, the writing so beautiful you will literally read some sentences twice, and the moments that will make you gasp out loud in surprise. What’s it about? Four siblings visit a fortune teller and each learns the exact day he or she will die. This information haunts them over the course of their lives, particularly after the death of the youngest, Simon. His death struck me the hardest because I could see it coming, knew how it would end for him, and I read on, helpless. The story come to a satisfying conclusion when the oldest, Varya, examines what it means not to simply exist, but to LIVE!— Jenny Chou
January 2018 Indie Next List
“In 1969, four siblings visit a fortune teller, who tells each child the date of their death. We follow the Gold siblings both separately and together over the next four decades and see how these revelations affect their choices, their behavior, and their relationships with one another. Apart from raising the obvious question (would you want to know the date of your death?), Benjamin brilliantly explores how family members can be both close to and distant from one another, and ponders the point at which our actions cease to matter and fate steps in. I LOVED The Immortalists, and if there's any justice in bookselling, this book will find the massive audience it so deserves.”
— Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:
New York Public Library
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.
About the Author
Chloe Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Immortalists. Her first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was long listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.
#1 Indie Next Pick
#1 LibraryReads Pick
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“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
“Thrilling.” —Marie Claire
"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