Four siblings test their fates in this literary family saga. In the late 1960s in New York City, two brothers and two sisters sneak out of their childhood home to have their fortunes told by a mysterious woman in their neighborhood. Each receives the date of their death, and from that point on this prediction looms over them. Events seem spurred into existence by the knowledge of the time each one has left, be it meager or generous. Simon is the youngest, a mere teenager blooming with possibility, longing to live in a place where he belongs. He moves with his sister Klara to San Francisco, where his story turns during the 1980s. Klara's own story follows in which an obsession with performing magic begins to overwhelm her with its supernatural possibility. As their older brother Daniel faces a crisis in his work as a military physician, knowing his fate poisons his outlook. Varya, the last sibling, is left behind to care for an ailing mother and dedicating herself to scientific research that seeks to increase longevity. Even Varya questions fate, as an unexpected twist leaves her wondering: Can life be prolonged, or is each person predestined to the life they are given?
In her second novel, Chloe Benjamin has crafted a thought- provoking masterpiece which will have readers questioning every character's path. Though there is graphic content early in the book, this would be an intriguing choice for open-minded book groups interested in tackling philosophical questions about life choices, destiny, and what happens after we die. The Immortalists was a #1 Library Reads pick and an Amazon Best Book of the Month.
Reviewed by cs, 03/18. Other reviews by cs.