January 2018 Indie Next List
“In 1969, four siblings visit a fortune teller, who tells each child the date of their death. We follow the Gold siblings both separately and together over the next four decades and see how these revelations affect their choices, their behavior, and their relationships with one another. Apart from raising the obvious question (would you want to know the date of your death?), Benjamin brilliantly explores how family members can be both close to and distant from one another, and ponders the point at which our actions cease to matter and fate steps in. I LOVED The Immortalists, and if there's any justice in bookselling, this book will find the massive audience it so deserves.”
— Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL
A dazzling family love story reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You from a novelist heralded as a "great new talent" by Lorrie Moore.
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
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. In search of one thing they can know for sure, the Gold children -- four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness -- sneak out to hear their fortunes.
Though the siblings keep their dates secret from one another, their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to San Francisco's dance scene, searching for love. Dreamy Klara becomes a magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
About the Author
CHLOE BENJAMIN is the author of the novel The Anatomy of Dreams, which received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. A graduate of Vassar College and of the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Benjamin's fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in The Millions, PANK, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.