The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
It’s 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York’s Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they’re about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.
Such prophecies could be dismissed as trickery and nonsense, yet the Golds bury theirs deep. Over the years that follow they attempt to ignore, embrace, cheat and defy the ‘knowledge’ given to them that day – but it will shape the course of their lives forever.
In 1969 New York, 27 Clinton Street, in the lower eastside grimy tenement building. An aging psychic (Riskika/Seer) claims to predict the day you die. The four gold children, sneak out to discover their fortunes!
The story is divided into the four narratives of the Gold children. Simon is the golden son, who as he grows older heads to San Francisco in the search of love!
Klara is the dreamy youngster, who dreams of being a Las Vegas magician!
Daniel is the eldest son, believing he can control fate. But is he in denial as this was all his idea to begin with!
Varya is the sensible child, who grows up to seek the answers in science!
Cheat it, accept it, ignore it or defy it!
Destiny vs illusion
Power of love over the nature of belief
A story that strikes at the heart of familial bonds!
The children go in one by one and so in turn only learn each other’s fates many years later! This novel is a classic mix of literary fiction with dynamic characters that tells a spellbinding story.
The novel is broken into several various parts with different children (now adults) narrating their part of the story. The timeline can be a little unclear at times. But the notion of ‘survival vs living a life’ really struck with me long after I finished the last page. The novel may also be slow burning in parts but it IS building to a great twist, a heart-wrenching moment between the siblings.
As every reader may do, I had to ask myself Would I want to know the date of my death?
I shall leave you with my favourite quote in the novel
“Think like Simon. Be fearless!”