View other formats and editions
- ISBN: 073521509X
- ISBN: 9780735215092
350 pages ; 21 cm
- Edition: G.P. Putnam's Sons trade paperback edition.
- Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2019.
- Copyright: ©2018
|General Note:||Includes discussion guide at the end of the book.|
|Bibliography, etc. Note:||Includes bibliographical references.|
|Summary, etc.:||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 the 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 struggles to maintain 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--|
Search for related items by subject
|Subject:||Brothers and sisters > Fiction.
Fortune-tellers > Fiction.
Families > Fiction.
Fate and fatalism > Fiction.
Magicians > Fiction.
Prophecies > Fiction.
New York Times Review
New York Times
June 2, 2019
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company
THE STRANGE ORDER OF THINGS: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures, by Antonio Damasio. (Vintage, $17.) Damasio, a well-known neuroscientist, makes a case for the centrality of feelings and emotions in human history. Unlike other accounts that focus on cognition and are largely unconcerned with the role of affect, his book reframes the history of humans and the natural world, putting feelings at its core. THE PISCES, by Melissa BrodÃ©r. (Hogarth, $16.) In this darkly funny novel, a depressed and stalled graduate student finally meets her dream date - who turns out to be half fish. As our reviewer, Cathleen Schine, put it, BrodÃ©r "approaches the great existential subjects - emptiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, death and boyfriends - as if they were a collection of bad habits." SHARP: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, by Michelle Dean. (Grove, $17.) In breezy biographical chapters on 10 writers, including Susan Sontag, Joan Didion and Pauline Kael, Dean explores their successes and failures and their relationship to feminism. Above all, she considers the doubleedged nature of the word "sharp": It's a compliment with an undertow of terror, she writes. "Sharpness, after all, cuts." THE IMMORTALISTS, by Chloe Benjamin. (Putnam, $16.) In late 1960s New York, the Gold children visit a fortuneteller known for predicting the dates when people will die. The four siblings grapple with the prophesies over the next 50 years: One heads West for San Francisco, and another becomes a scientist, researching the possibility of living forever. For each, the knowledge turns out to be both a blessing and curse, and all must try to balance their desires and choices with their predetermined destinies. NO ASHES IN THE FIRE: Coming of Age Black and Free in America, by Darnell L. Moore. (Bold Type, $16.99.) Growing up gay and black in Camden, N. J., Moore had a brutal, violent childhood. In his book, he sets out to make visible the "forces that rendered my blackness criminal, my black manhood vile, my black queerness sinful," he writes, but despite the cruelty he faced, he suffuses his memoir with humanity. THE SPARSHOLT AFFAIR, by Alan Hollinghurst. (Vintage, $16.95.) Hollinghurst's emotionally resonant novel charts nearly a century of queer life and desires in Britain. When readers meet the title character, he's an object of intense desire among a group of male friends at Oxford. Years later, a sex scandal torpedoes his political career, leaving his gay son to claim the possibilities his father never had.
Publishers Weekly Review
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
In her second novel, Benjamin (The Anatomy of Dreams) constructs an imaginative and satisfying family saga. In 1969, the four rambunctious Gold children, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya, visit a psychic on Manhattan's Lower East Side who predicts the date each of them will die. The novel then follows how the siblings deal with news of their expiration dates. In the late '70s, Klara and Simon, the youngest, run off to San Francisco, where the closeted Simon becomes a dancer and Klara a magician and stage illusionist who believes she can commune with the spirits of dead relatives. In 2006, Daniel, a married army doctor based in Kingston, N.Y., learns that the psychic who foretold their fates is a con artist wanted by the FBI, and attempts to track her down. In 2010, Varya, the eldest Gold, is a longevity researcher who feels closest to the rhesus monkeys she uses for her experiments. But one day, a journalist named Luke interviews her and, in the process, changes the course of her life. The author has written a cleverly structured novel steeped in Jewish lore and the history of four decades of American life. The four Gold siblings are wonderful creations, and in Benjamin's expert hands their story becomes a moving meditation on fate, faith, and the family ties that alternately hurt and heal. Agent: Margaret Riley King, WME Entertainment. (Jan.) Â© Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
An Edna Ferber Prize winner for The Anatomy of Dreams, Benjamin opens her second novel with four children in 1969 New York daringly visiting a fortune-teller said to be able to predict the date of one's death. Elder siblings Daniel and Varya grow up to become an army doctor and a scientist, respectively, while rebellious Klara works as a magician in Las Vegas and the insouciant youngest, Simon, finds love and dance in San Francisco. Yet thinking they know when they will die powerfully shapes their lives, often to their detriment, and we see each sibling struggling with this burden in four distinct narratives. How differently would their lives have turned out had they not made that visit? Could Benjamin have told the story of four close and sometimes troubled siblings without recourse to this hint of magic? The answer to that last question is yes, as the narratives she offers are intriguingly intertwined and beautifully rendered. Yet the added dimension proves effective while feeling entirely natural, and readers can believe what they want of the fortune-teller's power. VERDICT Both thought-provoking and entertaining, this title is highly recommended for a wide range of readers. [See Prepub Alert, 7/3/17.]--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Â© Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Restless during the seismic summer of 1969 on New York's Lower East Side, the four Gold siblings, descendants of Jews who fled violent persecution overseas, sneak off to see a fortune-teller, who tells them each, separately, the date of his or her death. So begins Benjamin's bewitching and provocative second novel (following The Anatomy of Dreams, 2014). Each character's story is saturated with paradox in this delving family saga laced with history and science and a heart-pounding inquiry into self, inheritance, fate, and the mind-body connection. At 16, Simon runs away to San Francisco, comes out as gay, and discovers his gift for dance just as AIDS begins its shattering assault. Magician Klara calls herself the Immortalist. Daniel is a military doctor; scientist Varya is conducting a longevity study with rhesus monkeys. All are afflicted by the poison of prophecy. Aligned in her artistic command, imagination, and deep curiosity about the human condition with Nicole Krauss, Dara Horn, and Stacey D'Erasmo, Benjamin asks what we want out of life. Duration? Success? Meaning? Who do we live for? Do our genes determine our path? How does trauma alter us? Benjamin has created mesmerizing characters and richly suspenseful predicaments in this profound and glimmering novel of death's ever-shocking inevitability and life's wondrously persistent whirl of chance and destiny.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2018 Booklist