REVIEW: THE IMMORTALISTS By Chloe Benjamin

30288282

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 

 

Published by

32 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE IMMORTALISTS By Chloe Benjamin

  1. Great review, Renee. (I had no idea you had a personal connection with visiting psychics…fun!) I completely agree about Daniel, but actually loved Simon’s story. My review of The Immortalists is coming up later this week.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think I like this book better as time has went on because I still think about it. I do have a long history with psychics and a particular personal story about an experience with one that blew my mind and I thought about writing about it for this review but then decided not to since it has that far out there quality. If you’re interested in hearing it DM me sometime and I’ll share it with you:) It made a believer out of my husband who thought I was crazy for talking to psychics!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susie, yes I love the psychics I see every year! Many years ago I saw a different psychic every 6 months or so (she passed away) and she was amazing, as I told Janel, I almost shared a story regarding her and an experience I had with her for this review but I didn’t want to seem too far out there…my husband makes me share my story whenever we’re with people who say they don’t believe in psychics:) I think I’m the only one who didn’t love Simon and I can’t really say why I didn’t connect with him

      Like

    1. Thanks Brandie and you do!! It’s really thought provoking and very well written. I will say the same to you about MY tbr but also thank you for turning me onto Kristan Higgins with your endorsement of Now That You Mention It….I decided to check out her backlist since you and Amy said you loved all of her books and I’m halfway through On Second Thought and loving it. My poor 2018s have taken a backseat for now!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YES! I can absolutely relate to that desire to find out whether the psychic had/would predict the deaths of each of the characters! I loved the sections with Simon and Klara the most, and felt like things slowed down a bit in the last third of the book, but I felt completely redeemed by the outcome and loved her writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another trusted blogger suggested I pitch this to my book club for our yearly list. You think it’s book club worthy? Plenty to discuss? I’m worried that they will hear the word “psychics” and then rule it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think it’s book club worthy, actually I intended to go back and edit my review to say at the end that I highly recommend this for book clubs and I totally forgot! The psychic is actually a very small part in the beginning, the story is about how each sibling’s life plays out after she talks to them. I want my book club to read this so we can discuss the burning question of wanting to know or not. There’s so much you can discuss with this book!

      Like

  4. I have this on hold. Sunday’s paper (SF Chronicle) gave it a so-so review. But the blogosphere seems excited by it.

    I reconnected with an old high school friend recently, who became a psychic (does one “become” a psychic or is it something one just IS?). To be honest, I didn’t realize one could make a living from it. She did thank me for taking her seriously 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like the literary critics are being more negative about it and I’m not sure why. I thought the writing and structure were excellent. I don’t agree with the literary too often for the most part. I’m not sure about your friend but the psychics I’ve talked all say they had their abilities from as far back as they could remember in their early childhood. Interestingly 2 talked about feeling that it was a curse for many years. I hope you enjoy it, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Like

  5. I JUST picked up a copy of this book on a whim while I was at Costco this week. Obviously I’ve been seeing it around the blogosphere, but something about the cover and the premise of the book had me throwing it into my cart. From what I’ve been seeing, it sounds like this would make an excellent book club selection?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve got this one on my TBR list this month as the premise fascinated me. Would we live any better or differently if we knew when we’d die? Or would our resolution to do so fall by the wayside like most others? It sounds as if it would be a great book club pick and I’m really keen to read it now.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s