The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Imagine for a moment that you were told the exact date that you were going to die? If you believed what you had just been told, how would that change you as a person and the life that you would lead? Indeed, would it actually change anything at all?
Author Chloe Benjamin has done just that with her mesmerising novel The Immortalists (Tinder Press) and the four young siblings that take a trip on a summers day that will have profound effects on the lives that they will lead.
It is a Summer’s day in 1969 and Simon (Seven), Klara (Nine), Daniel (Eleven) and Varya (Thirteen) take a trip that unbeknown to each of them will change how they live their lives from this moment on. They take a trip to see a fortune teller who they hear has the power to inform of the exact date a person will die. One by one they learn of the date but they do not share this information with each other but try to understand what they have just been told.
From this day forward their lives will be forever linked with this moment and the piece of information that each was given. So now what happens to the siblings after they find out the date they will die?
The book is broken down to cover each of the siblings and starts with Simon to runs away to San Francisco where he is free to live the life he has chosen within the gay community and his life that he fulfils is lit up with the people he mixes with and as he trains to be a ballet dancer. For Klara her dream is to be a magician and show the world the magic that is around them. Daniel joins the military and the daily strict guidelines that this brings but all does not bode well for Daniel and his story is one of sadness. As for Varya she has dedicated her life to science and the longevity research. Was this anything to do with the meeting with the fortune teller but her Jewish faith seems to bring her comfort.
The real beauty of this book is how Chloe Benjamin tells the story of each of the individuals. Each story is just beautifully told and with a degree of sensitivity that it deserves. Each story they share with the reader their intimate lives with love, loss family bonds and death. We all have a destiny but how do we each shape our own destiny over time, here in The Immortalists Benjamin has crafted a superb novel that will ask questions of each of the family members and is thought provoking. At times I did think the information passed on by the fortune teller started to erode members of the family and in the end their own families as time went on.
Plenty of room for talking about this novel and it would make a terrific Book Club choice as the questions that it asks through each of life’s journey’s for the siblings.
Thank you Caitlin Raynor (Headline) for the advanced review copy of The Immortalists
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is published by Tinder Press and was published on 8th March and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.