Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
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, struggles to maintain 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.
Both a dazzling family love story and 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.
2018 has already been a great year of reading. From Red Clocks to Tell the Wolves I’m Home to The Immortalists, I’ve already found three stories I completely adore. And each is entirely its own entity, in style and subject. (Coincidence that all three were written by women?)
The Immortalists is a story in four parts – each section telling the story of one of the Gold children. However, the other Golds appear in their siblings sections, giving the story a sense of cohesion, and reuniting you with the characters you love even after Benjamin has moved along to the next sibling. Personally, my favorite section was Simon’s. I could have read an entire novel about Simon; actually, I could have read an entire novel about any of these characters.
This story was satisfying. It made me smile, it made me cry. It asked big questions about what fate controls and what we control without positing answers. Benjamin does not assume to know any more than anyone else; she just puts our superstitious beliefs under the spotlight. This book is simply my kind of story.
I would highly recommend The Immortalists. I cannot get it off my mind and I think you’ll struggle to get it off of yours. This is a book I already want to reread.
Interested in this book? Find it in the Deep Readers Club February box (use my code NYC15 for 15% off your subscription) – the theme this month is Longing. Each box centers around one emotional theme and includes one related novel and 3-5 related bookish goods. It’s currently my favorite bookish subscription service. Or click here to find it on Amazon or pick it up at your local independent bookstore.