The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin ~ 352 pages ~ published 1/9/18 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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.
What I Thought:
I received this book in my first PageHabit box, and I was pretty excited about it. I had heard great things about it, and the copy I received had annotations from the author on post-its throughout the book. Once I started reading it, however, I have to say that I was disappointed.
The set-up for the story was intriguing…but the execution left something to be desired for me. I know myself pretty well by now (30 years of learning will do that for you 😉 ), and I am generally not a fan of books where one bad thing happens after another, with seemingly no hope of a silver lining or potential happy ending. This book was a depressing read for me.
It was also a little boring. I felt that the pace dragged, to the point where I would catch myself nodding off in the middle of a paragraph. It took me two weeks to read this book. That is a sure sign that I am not into a book, as it generally only takes me a few days to finish a book that I am into.
I don’t want to go into the details of the story, as there would be major spoilers if I reveal anything. But, I do feel that the book’s overall point was fairly clear. Here is a quote from the book that I feel sums it up well:
“It sounds like you are saying we can choose to live. Or we can choose to survive.”
While I agree with the general point that Benjamin was making, I felt that she took an awfully long and convoluted path getting there.
I gave this book 2 STARS. I did not enjoy it, but I also didn’t absolutely despise it. As it had a solid overarching theme, it saved this book from the dreaded 1 star rating…