In 1969 the four Gold children, Varya, Daniel, Karla and Simon visit a fortune teller who tells them the date that each of them will die. For the rest of their lives, this pronouncement will effect many parts of their lives. Simon, the youngest, runs off to San Francisco when he is sixteen, works in a gay nightclub and becomes a ballet dancer. Karla becomes a musician and performs one very dangerous feat. Daniel is a doctor who gives physicals to army recruits and then decides if they're physically able to serve. And Varya, the eldest, works in a lab with primates, hoping to discover ways that human longevity can be increased. As we learn more about each of the Golds, we are introduced to other equally interesting characters.
Don't be put off by the preface of The Immortalists. Benjamin's debut novel is a riveting work about fate and families.— Nancy Randall
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
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "A captivating family saga."--The New York Times Book Review
"You won't be able to put it down."--The Skimm (Skimm Reads Pick) "This literary family saga is perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Donna Tartt."--People Magazine (Book of the Week) "A sprawling, enchanting family saga."--Entertainment Weekly (The Must List) A dazzling family love story reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You from a novelist heralded by Lorrie Moore as a "great new talent." 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. The Gold children--four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness--sneak out to hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; 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 New York Times bestseller The Immortalists. Her first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was long listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.