I did enjoy this one. It was raw and real and gave me the sense of roller coaster craziness that life is always dishing out. What I didn't like was the choppiness of the story- tho I don't really know how else this could be written. Each sibling had their own dedicated section of the book and they didn't cross pathways or stories or lives much at all- which was distracting for me-- but all in all, this was thought provoking and sincere- a little bit nutty, but easy to believe.
Saul & Gertie Gold are the parents of 4 children, Varya, Daniel, Karla & Simon. Saul is a tailor of great reputation. Simon is the youngest child and has more to do with his father's business than the other children. When Saul passes away, it is assumed that Simon will carry it on.
The children sneak away one day to visit a psychic who they believe can tell them the actual date of their deaths. When they reach the woman's apartment on Hester Street, each child is allowed entry alone. So they are given the dates without anyone else knowing what they have been told.
We then proceed to get to know each child for a short period before their endings. Simon and Karla decide that they do no want to stay where they are and leave for California. While Simon is only 16, he already knows that he is attracted to men. Being in California opens that up for him, as it is during the late 70's, early 80's. Karla is the magic woman, taking points from her grandmother, who was not talked much about at home. She is very into magic and doing her grandmother's famous rope trick involving using her teeth to hang on to ropes. Daniel is a medical person. He works for the military and feels strongly about that. Varya is a scientist and has her own quirks.
I kind of didn't like that you only got to really know each character for a very short period of time before their demise. The characters were all very likeable in their own sense. You definitely fell in love with each, no matter what their particular quirks were.
I LOVED the concept of this book, but was let down by the execution of it. A group of siblings secretly see a fortune teller who gives them the date of their deaths. This knowledge impacts the decisions they make for the rest of their lives. The book is then divided into four parts, one for each sibling. This just made for four underdeveloped stories which seemed disjointed. The reader was left with many unanswered questions.
This was not my favorite book as I didn't like the characters very much. But it is a great book for book clubs as so many different things happened that you can talk about. Much of it felt over done or absurd, yet many of those things really did happen and it gives the club a chance to open up about some things that might otherwise make them uncomfortable.
This book had a thought provoking premise - if you knew the day you were going to die, would you live your life differently? How would it affect your day to day? Four siblings go to see a fortune teller when they are children and she tells each of them when they are going to die. I have never had any interest in knowing this kind of information from a fortune teller and still have none now! The books is told in four sections, one for each sibling. I knew how Simon would die from the very beginning - gay in San francisco in the early 80s = AIDS. Klara's cause of death was a little surprising and Daniel's more surprising still. But what wasn't a surprise as you were reading was the fact they were going to die. And they knew it even though they didn't want to believe it. Varya - the oldest sister and the only one to make it to "old age" - was a sad personality but it is good at the end to see how she comes full circle and begins to have relationships with others. She has spent her life as a biologist studying longevity but finally realizes sometimes the quality of life is more important that the length of life. So the overall ending was good but lots of sadness along the way.
If you knew the day you were going to die, how differently would you live your life? Does your belief or lack of belief in that piece of information determine your choices? These are the questions #TheImmortalists by Chloe Benjamin grapples with. A memorable book that leaves me with the firm belief that I do not ever wish to pursue the knowledge given to these children. True or not, believed or not, it changes lives. Words matter, and thoughts matter.
Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/03/the-immortalists.html
Reviewed for #NetGalley