In the summer of 1969, four children from a Jewish family on the Lower East Side of Manhattan visit a psychic and are told the date they will die. Does this information, this prediction, change the way they choose to live? That question is wrapped in mystery in The Immortalists, a story that takes us through each of the siblings’ lives. Author Chloe Benjamin provides us with a mesmerizing story of these rich characters, and their choices about how to live.
Simon, the youngest brother, moves to California to live his truth and gets caught up in the sexual revolution of the 1980s. His sister Klara, who is irresponsible in many ways, chooses to become a magician. Daniel, the oldest brother, is conflicted at work; he is a doctor in the army and must give clearance to young men to serve in the military. Vanya is involved in anti-aging research, as she reduces caloric intake of primates to extend their lives. We witness the strengthening and deterioration of relationships, and hope things will turn out okay, but in the end, do they? Throughout the book you can’t help but question if the characters’ choices were ultimately made because of the knowledge they received regarding their death.
This book asks readers to contemplate so many things and ask that we think about these questions: Quality over quantity? Do you want to live for a long time, or live well during the time you have? Would you want to know the date of your own death?
Some of what Chloe Benjamin writes about is based on her own knowledge and experiences; she grew up in California in the 1980s with a gay parent, a Jewish parent, and immigrant grandparents. She was a ballet dancer and her mother was an actor, all of which influenced the setting and characters. She also did massive amounts of research to learn about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military, primate research, magicians and magic. The narrative was rich with information and with each section focusing on a different character, you really got to know them as people, both internally and as the world sees them.
The Immortalists was a lesson about embracing life and trying not to worry about the unknown. It is a balance, like science and religion, to navigate our lives by making choices based on what we know to be true and what we believe is true.
For more information vist: www.chloebenjaminbooks.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chloe Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Immortalists, a #1 Indie Next Pick, #1 Library Reads pick, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, Amazon Best Book of the Month, and an iBooks Favorite.
Her first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was long listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.
Her work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Chloe is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.