The Immortalists

The Immortalists

Book - 2018
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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 travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. Four siblings keep their death dates secret from one another, but their prophecies inform their next five decades.
Publisher: New York, New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780735213180
Characteristics: 346 pages ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

"Such a great story, and interesting characters. Had me hooked from the very beginning. This is one of my favourites of 2018 already!"
— Alyssa Magilsen, Bruce County Public Library

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 ... Read More »

From the critics

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DBRL_ANNEG Apr 04, 2018

How might you live your life if you know the exact date that your life would be over? The author sets 4 siblings into this very situation and follows their lives over several decades, exploring the varying effects of knowing your end date. I enjoyed getting to know each of the siblings and found that the paths their lives took were not exactly what I anticipated. I also thought the author did a good job of showing how knowing when you'll die can have both positive and negative affects, even on those who have long lives ahead of them. Readers who enjoy family sagas will want to check this one out.

Apr 03, 2018

* I wanted to love this book after starting it until I hit the TOO graphic homosexual engagement. Stopped reading right away. There should be a warning on this book about the graphic homosexual sexuality as you read the reviews and think it a wholesome read about siblings and their going forward into the world. * only


Apr 02, 2018

The fortune teller on Hester Street tells each young Gold child the date he or she will die, and the author links each character to the next oldest sibling from the previous death. The story structure is clever and the picturesque detail good, but the detached imagery and first segment sex are overwritten. The protagonist is really second youngest Klara, the magician, and I don’t know why the author gave up the fascinating crime plot of the second and third segments, except to elevate form.

JCLAmandaW Mar 28, 2018

Do people have set dates that they will die, or if you are told a certain date for your death, does your behavior with that knowledge lead you towards making that premonition come true? This engaging novel explores that idea with four siblings who learn their dates of death from a psychic in 1969, and follows them as they live their lives with that knowledge.

Michael Colford Mar 21, 2018

Chloe Benjamin's debut is an interesting Jewish family drama about four siblings who as children, visit a local fortune teller who tells each of them the date of their death. After this opening prologue, the book follows the lives of each of the siblings, from the youngest to the oldest. Simon moves to San Francisco with his sister and discovers his life as a gay man and a dancer in the dawn of the AIDS epidemic. Klara seeks out the West Coast to become a stage magician. Daniel settles down and marries in upstate New York, and Varya leads a solitary life as a medical researcher.

Each of their stories is compelling and fairly haunting, and a shroud of sadness does permeate the entire novel. The writing is quite lovely, and Varya's final segment does lead to some needed revelations and observations about life and how we live it. Due to a busy fall, I started this book and flew through the first half, then stalled for the second half, not due to any flaws of the books, and part of me wishes I had made the time to keep going, to finish the book in a more compact timeframe, but at the same time, drawing it out over several months was rewarding as well, and in the end, I quite loved this novel.

JCLMELODYK Mar 19, 2018

I did like this book but I want to share with you who did it better. Ann Patchett's Commonwealth and Ann Packer's The Children's Crusade are both excellent family drama's that explore the connections between siblings and consequences of their parents' actions. Both Patchett and Packer do a better job of getting to the heart of the joy and pain of siblings and the unity born of a shared parentage.

Many readers may enjoy this though for a completely different reason - the suspense. The plot keeps you engaged because you have to know if the psychic's claims about the four siblings comes to pass.

Mar 15, 2018

The good reviews led me to begin reading this novel, however, I was blindsided as the reviews did not make mention of the pornographic content, (not needed to promote the storyline). I read until page 92 and determined that this is not a novel that advances my life. I was quite perturbed that I picked it up without an X rating on the cover and then proceeded to let my book club know (church book club) of its contents and that I would not continue to read this selection and felt it no longer met our criteria of quality best sellers . I have spent my career in public schools and would be quite concerned that this book would be made available to "any reader" that chose to take it out. The advertised storyline, of children learning their date of death, would be an intriguing reading selection for young readers. I am deeply distubed that so many adults gave this a positive review and I am left wondering what type of world we are inviting our young people into with this type of explicit exposure.

lindab1111 Mar 15, 2018

Does fate rule our lives? Or do we create our own fate? This seems to be the central theme of this book. I won't hash over the storyline here since its already been done in other reviews. I loved the story of Simon and felt that his story was given the most structure. The others seemed to fall off little by little until Varya. Her storyline was spare and the torture ( of the monkeys was just awful. Then she has an unresolved storyline with a son she gave up many years ago? What? I also wish the mother wasn't reduced to a Jewish stereotype. Loved the 1st half so for that it gets 5 stars. The second half gets 2 1/2 stars.

DCLadults Mar 13, 2018

I thought the first half of the book was much better that the second. I loved the pacing and the vulnerability she captures in the main characters. It is well written with a thought provoking storyline.

Mar 10, 2018

A very interesting plot concept (finding out in childhood the date of your death)... but, not well executed throughout the book. The author is young, and that lack of life experience shows in her lack of depth in characterization of all of the four siblings. Feels like she took her overall premise, then fit each character's life into a box appropriate to the time period the book covers. She dashed off Simon's life in the first section in an awkward disconnected way, set in San Fransisco during the initial AIDS panic in the early 80s. And so on, and so forth...

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