“A captivating family saga.”—The New York Times Book Review
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.
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Fly Girl’s Review
I listened to this book on audible while on my commute to work during the month of December when I was working in the office every other week. Often I would find myself with the car in park when I got home continuing to listen because the tale was so gripping. There is drama and love and family relationships and dysfunctional family dynamics, guilt, angst…I mean the character dynamics and the emotions are all over the place. This is one wild ride.
As the question is asked in the beginning, “what would you do if you knew the day your life would end?” This book explores that idea with varying degrees of secrecy and shared knowledge of each of four siblings foretold dates of death. Chloe explores the topic from different angles. The first being one sibling that doesn’t tell anyone the date he learned to the next sibling believing she enabled the first child’s death because she encouraged the behaviors that got him killed, even though she didn’t know. Yet she dies as predicted also. The third sibling tries to prove he can outwit the proposed date of his death, while the last one is so afraid of death she only lives a life half lived until it’s almost too late for her.
So what does this tell us? Is is true fate will always intervene to make sure we die when we are supposed to? Should you stop living because you know when you will die or do you live like it’s your last day until it actually is? I don’t feel she’s answered any of these in her book, but reflecting on the paths each took in her tale makes you wonder if fate isn’t more involved than some think, or is it a trick of the mind that makes it so? More questions came to me after reading this than the initial question started it started with.
I actually love books that make you think about things that alter or drive your chosen path. It’s a cleansing read to think on existential crisis’ and thankfully know it isn’t your crisis to solve. It isn’t so much a suspenseful story as it is a thought provoking and moving story that will stay with you for ages after you’re done. I know I listened to this book in 2020 but it is by far one of the best of that year for me. If you are dying to answer some of the questions I’ve posed, this book is for you.
I would love to hear what you think if you read it.
5 of 5 Propellers
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