The Immortalists

The Immortalists

eBook - 2018
Average Rating:
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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.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735213197
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (346 pages).
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Winter 2018
Gill_library Jan 12, 2018

If you knew when you were going to die, would you live your life differently or drive towards the prediction?


From the critics


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VaughanPLAlyssia Feb 22, 2018

Not quite what I expected. The book is broken up into four segments, one for each of the four siblings, rather than intertwining all of their stories. The hint of magic at the beginning of the story isn’t really picked up again, which was disappointing to me. Simon’s story was a particular sore spot for me. As soon as he moves to San Francisco in the late 70s you know exactly where his story will go, and Benjamin plays right into those expectations. A weirdly old cliché for a young author. The others were different but didn't really capture my interest.

This book didn’t really appeal to me, but it would be a good choice for book clubs. The book spans several time periods and contains a variety of subject matter, so there’s a lot to talk about. The writing is also smooth and flows well, making it a fairly quick read.

m
mjk236sb
Feb 15, 2018

Very interesting concept - children learning when they would die. Intriguing to follow them as they begin their journey. Makes you think how you would live your life if you were put in that situation. Such different people - and it was so interesting to see the interactions with the siblings as they grow and move towards there designated times. Very well done.

kirstd31 Feb 12, 2018

This book was so interesting and intense. I could not put it down. I had to see what happened to the main characters. The story line was very thought provoking. What would you do if someone told you the day you were going to die?

AL_LESLEY Feb 08, 2018

A fascinating look into the minds of 4 siblings and their personal struggles with knowing the exact dates of their deaths. What I appreciated even more are the less remarked upon themes of selfishness, suffering and grief. Each story is unique and well crafted.

JCLGreggW Jan 25, 2018

Intense, thoughtful, and elegant, Benjamin's novel about brothers and sisters in who discover the date of their deaths from a mysterious woman. Full of richly described characters who struggle with their comforting (or terrifying) knowledge, your book group absolutely NEEDS this.

d
darladoodles
Jan 09, 2018

The artwork on the cover is beautiful and evokes many of the same feelings as the prose inside the book.

This story fascinated me. Do you live your life differently if you know the day of your death? Or, as the fortune teller claims are you the same person all of your life and knowing what type of person you are helps her to tell you the day of your death?

After Varya, Daniel, Klara and Simon visit the fortuneteller the book focuses on each of them as they live their lives in the light of that knowledge. The prose is beautiful, but I was reminded of the wise man in Ecclesiastes. It seemed that they were striving after the wind (Ecc 1:14). As we read their stories, we realize that though they believe they have some sense of control over their lifespan, they do not live well in the knowledge. There is much to ponder here and this book would be an excellent choice for a book group.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (ESV)

o
OPL_ErinD
Dec 19, 2017

Each of the four Gold children has been given their day of death by a neighborhood mystic. Simon, the youngest, decides to live while he can; Klara searches for something more in the life of a magician and mentalist; Daniel chooses a seemingly safe and normal life as a military doctor; and Varya, the oldest, dedicates herself to the pursuit of extending the human life.

More than once I felt kind of broke open by this book. My connection to each of the Gold siblings was instant and deep, and I missed each of them when I had to put the book down. This is a profound story about family, human connection, grief and the question of whether we create or simply fulfill our fate.

OPLJessG Nov 15, 2017

How would you live your life if you knew when you were going to die? This thought-experiment is turned prophesy for the four Gold siblings, and the reader is whisked through time through pivotal moments in each of their lives. An excellent option for book clubs and discussions about family, faith, fate, and freedom of choice.

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