Book review: The Immortalists + competition

Published by Tinder Press

As a blogger, sometimes I feel so in awe of a book that words won’t come out. This is one of those books… but I will try and write a couple of coherent sentences.


Chloe Benjamin’s second book, The Immortalists, was published in the US on January 9th and – since then – it has been praised and celebrated wherever it’s landed.


If you knew the day you were going to die, how would you choose to live?

This question perfectly encapsulates this great novel, which succeeds in being witty, moving and tragic all at the same time.

Everything begins in the summer of 1969, when the four Gold children – Varya, Daniel, Klara and Simon – decide to seek out a fortune-teller known for her ability to predict the date of your death. This one childhood act of bravado will change the way they will live and – ultimately – die.

The novel is divided into four parts, one for each of the siblings, and follows them as they hurtle through life and face all those decisions we’re called to make daily. Do they believe in the prophecy and does it affect their choices?

The author said that she has ‘always been interested in the tension between knowledge and mystery, between science and religion and the various ways we cope with the unknown’. The Immortalists portrays this tension with elegance and dignity but it is about so much more than that.

Family, relationships, sexuality, independence, expectations, duty, love, loss… every page is so full of life even if all you keep wondering is: will they die on the date the woman on Hester Street predicted?

Apart from a plot rich in unexpected twists and a cast of brilliant characters, what sets this novel apart is Chloe Benjamin’s majestic wordsmithery. Thanks to her pen, you magically find yourself in New York and San Francisco, where ‘the moon flaps like a number come loose on a door; the sidewalk unrolls for them, like a carpet’.

So many times I found myself re-reading a passage out loud to hear the words with my ears, and not just with my eyes. Just to share a few…

[Varya] has always been uncompromising, sanctimonious, someone who walks between the lines as if on a balance beam.

And yet [Simon] feels a spike of fear: the filter has been taken off the lens, the safety net ripped beneath his feet, and he is dizzy with dreadful Independence.

Klara won’t be a woman who is sawed in half or tied in chains – nor will she be rescued or liberated. She’ll save herself. She’ll be the saw.

[Daniel felt] the regret of separation, and the bliss of being returned.

There is poetry, softness and strength in these pages and I can only be a little envious of all those readers who are yet to be captured and mesmerised by this book.


If you’d like to be one of these lucky people, why not enter my competition to win a copy of The Immortalists, courtesy of the publisher? All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet the competition post by April 8th. For any extra entries, please leave a comment below and don’t forget to mention your Twitter handle so I can find you. Good luck!

Comments

  1. This sounds like a wonderful book, the story sounds excellent and the writing beautiful - some of the lines you have quoted have a wonderful poetic look to them.
    Jane
    twitter @janesgrapevine

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  2. I have this book on my TBR and bought my copy in December. I am hoping to get to it soon!

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    1. Hi Nikki! Do let me know what you think once you've read it. It is so good!

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  3. I really love the cover.... Heard a lot about the content of the book (positive things obviously) .... hope to win... Nice review ....Twitter handle - @CUTEsatarupa

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  4. Really want to read it! 💟💟💟 Thanks for the review! @iheartmoviesntv

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  5. Sounds like a really intruiging read - put it on my my tbr list now!
    @CakeReev

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  6. Oooh! Interesting. Fingers crossed :)

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