Publication date: Jan. 9, 2018 By G.P. Putnam’s Sons
If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?
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 will inform their next five decades…..
I absolutely love the premise of this novel and that first sentence is what made me request the title on Edelweiss. I’ve been fascinated by psychics for years and go yearly to a big psychic fair in our city where I usually chat with 2 or 3 different psychics. I’ve went for the past several years and I always sit down with the same psychics every year but I’ve never asked about death or dying. It’s actually never been a question I’ve been tempted to ask. However, for this story, I couldn’t wait to find out how knowing their death dates would shape each sibling.
We immediately start the journey of the four siblings (Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya) in the late 1960s with Klara and Simon’s stories. Simon is the youngest and only 16 when his life takes a drastic change. He and Klara have moved to San Francisco where their lives take very different paths. Simon came across as quite a lost soul and out of the 4 he was my least favorite character. (Side note: Varya was my favorite) One of the huge positives for me about this book was the author’s ability to bring each and every character to life. They were SO vivid and each was so well developed even though many were only briefly in the story. The authenticity of the characters and the flow of the narrative kept me reading through the first 35% when I wasn’t sure if this would get above a 3 star rating for me. Long story short…it did! I think my struggle with the beginning was not connecting with Simon’s character all that much.
I was so invested and immersed in the remainder of the story that I flew through it in one sitting. I had to find out if the psychic’s predictions were true and if so how would these characters I had come to like and care for die? I will be honest and say I found a particular resolution with Daniel way too convenient and not in alignment with what I felt I knew about his character. A minor issue. Overall, I thought this was a wonderful story about fate, living life to the fullest, and living it authentically. I never highlight in my kindle but there were many sentences toward the end that stopped me in my tracks and I knew I wanted to remember those thoughts. To me, that’s a sign of excellent writing. I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait for Chloe Benjamin’s next novel.
Many thanks G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Edelweiss for my copy