The Immortalists Book Review

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Genre: Fiction
346 Pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
I rated ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️on Goodreads

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.

Let's start with the cover! I just LOVED this cover and once I lost myself in the story, I realized how much thought had to be put into symbolize a family tree, the different leaves for each different character, some leaves naturally live longer than others...I honestly think this is the most meaningful cover I have ever seen!

The title is a bit misleading.  It is neither fantasy nor mythical.

Benjamin wrote a compelling, vibrant story.  The characters, although not that likable, are fascinating in their own way.  They each suffer and carry their share of emotional baggage due to that visit to a psychic during their childhood.  It is a story about a family that endures so much pain, that as a reader, I asked myself if I could endure reading it.

After part 2 of the book, I felt it was too depressing and would probably have put it away, if this wasn't a book club pick.  I'm so glad I didn't give up because the story picked up after that and I felt that it all came together beautifully. 

Because the book is divided in 4 parts, each representing one of the siblings, the reader is able to understand how each personality faces the "prophecy" in their own way.  There's a quality vs quantity type of life possibility dilemma.  Live life fully, with no regrets, or just go by, living under the radar, hoping to live longer that way.  That, to me, is what makes this book an Epic read!

The Immortalists had me thinking of some of the most basic life questions:
Would I want to know the exact date I'm going to die?
Would I live differently?
Do I think our fate is pre-written and no matter what we do, cannot be altered?
Are we just paws on this game we call life?

I could go on and on, and honestly, I think it will take some time till I'm able to  shake off the thoughts that this book awaken...

"But at heart, she worried that her primary motivation was fear.  Fear that she had no control, that life slipped through one's fingers no matter what."

At the end of the novel, there's a line about "the beauty and freedom in uncertainty".

Do you agree with this?


  1. I order my copy. It should arrive any day now. Thank you for the great review. Now I am even more exiced about it.

    1. I'm so glad you're going to read it! Please do let me know what you think of it afterwards. Thank you for reading the review :-)


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