Review: The Immortalists

The Immortalists

The Immortalists
By Chloe Benjamin
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735213180, January 2018, 352pp.

The Short of It:

Would knowing the date of your death change the way you live?

The Rest of It:

The Immortalists asks you to push your disbelief aside in order to ask yourself that very question and for many readers I think this is impossible to do. I, however, had no problem suspending my disbelief for the sake of the story.

After the encouragement of their older brother Daniel, Varya, Klara and Simon head to a fortune-teller who provides each of the four siblings with the date of their death. This is particularly concerning to young Simon, because he’s told that he will die very young. Klara, is also told that she will die fairly young. Knowing this information, the two take off for San Francisco in their teens so they can live their lives to the fullest but what follows is a tragic host of events which ultimately affect their lives and the lives of their siblings.

The Immortalists is not a perfect story. Nor is it executed all that well but I did find myself liking Simon’s story quite a bit. As a young gay, Jewish man, the responsibility of running his father’s tailor shop for the rest of his life proved too much for him. I feel that of all the siblings, Simon’s story was the most realistic and yes, the most tragic. I would have been just fine had the entire story been about Simon but that was not the case.

All in all, the other stories didn’t fit together well but I still enjoyed the lead-up, except for some very convenient plot lines. As a book club pick, some liked it, many didn’t but we still had a decent discussion.

Would you want to know the date of your death? Personally, I would not want to know mine.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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17 thoughts on “Review: The Immortalists”

  1. I may give this one a try once again – I only listened to a bit of the first chapter. As for me, yes, I would want to know when I was going to die – hoping it will not be anytime soon though 🙂

    1. I really loved the youngest sibling’s story but not so much the rest. I’m not sure why the author felt it was important to include all the siblings.

    1. If you knew and it was an early date, then I guess some people would try to make the most of the time they have but others would be like, “what the hell, what does it matter anyway?” Depends on your personality.

  2. Interesting and your reaction to this one is similar to others I’ve read. Plus I’ve read some that didn’t like it at all. Not sure it’s for me, but one never knows. As to knowing my date of death – no, absolutely not. I’m way too anxious a person and just having deadlines for blog posts freaks me out. I think for many people it would give them an excuse to behave in less than desirable ways. I mean, why not? Does that make sense?

    1. Yes, makes perfect sense and is in fact what happens to one of the characters. I would not want to know. I would not even want to know HOW it happens.

    1. I know. The book is getting some press but the reviews are mixed. It comes down to how much you are willing to ignore because let’s face it, most people don’t believe in fortunes.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with what you had to say. Simon’s story was most definitely the best portion of the entire novel. The rest struggles with consistency and decent writing.

    I do not want to know. What a horrible piece of information! Plus, I cannot help but wonder if the decisions you make from the point of knowing somehow contribute to your death. Would we live longer if we did not know? (Deep thoughts by Michelle)

    1. I thought so. Many in my group didn’t like it but they also could not get past the whole fortune telling idea. Some people believe in it. I don’t really. I do believe in prophecy. Some people have a knack for sensing things but I wasn’t critical of the notion as far as the story went.

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