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The Immortalists (2018)

by Chloe Benjamin

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1,8091446,516 (3.74)64
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. Their 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, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality. 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.… (more)

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» See also 64 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
3.5/5 ( )
  jocelynelise_ | Aug 10, 2020 |
3.5 stars
The audiobook reader was super!
A fascinating, but depressing story of The Gold family - cursed, disconnected, and yearning for love and acceptance. How could so much bad happening to one family?
  Lisa_Francine | Aug 5, 2020 |
2.5 stars rounded to 3. Fascinating premise, uneven execution. ( )
  gleipnir | Jun 20, 2020 |
A clever concept, deftly executed with a lot of heart. Even though I technically knew where each story is headed, the story of each character still moved me. There was something a little too neat about how everything fit together, but it also made for a very satisfying novel. ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
This wasn't a particularly bad novel. It had a tiny bit of magical realism, a slapdash of carpe diem, and a lot of character study. The details surrounding the entire family was the strongest part.

I suppose I just wasn't in the right mood for this one. It was weak on any particular Fantasy and it wasn't a sprawling generational Family Epic. We deal with four siblings who were told the time of their deaths as children. Each dealt with it in wildly different ways.

And that was about it. I sometimes like character studies and this one was perhaps better than average, but it wasn't particularly hard-hitting. Even with AIDS scene. It was a strong start, but the rest was just... okay.

I supposed this is my failure to fall in love with traditional mainstream fiction. It deals with a lot of reality and very little else. Death? Yes. That's the whole theme.

How do you deal with what you're given when you're alive?

Fine. *sigh* I suppose I would have gone nuts if this was full of philosophy and depth. But it wasn't. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Chloe Benjamin pulls this novel off almost as a series of four set-pieces, enriched by period detail from each era.
 
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For my grandmother, Lee Krug
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Varya is thirteen. New to her are three more inches of height and the dark patch of fur between her legs.
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She's always thought of home as a physical destination, but perhaps Raj and Ruby are home enough. Perhaps home, like the moon, will follow wherever she goes.
Our language is our strength. Thoughts have wings.
The cost of loneliness is high, she knows, but the cost of loss is higher.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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