If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? That is the question and the remarkable premise behind Chloe Benjamin’s upcoming novel, The Immortalists.
We are all fascinated with death on some level. When will it happen? How will it happen? What happens after? So many questions with very few answers. But what if you knew the exact date of your death? What would you do with that information? In Ms. Benjamin’s novel, the Gold siblings, Varya, Klara, Daniel and Simon, use that information in drastically different ways, for better or worse.
I could not put this story down, not even while on the train to work. It is a remarkable, heartbreaking, funny and extremely powerful story. Ms. Benjamin wrote this book with a keen sense of what it means to have brothers and sisters and how life can change those relationships, for good or ill. She also did a wonderful job of highlighting the faults within ourselves and how outside forces can turn us into a person who either takes life by the balls or allows it to put us in a claustrophobic box, afraid to live a fully-realized existence. Many times throughout this story, I found myself reminiscing about growing up with my brothers and sisters, remembering the fun times, and also the tragic ones, that made us who we are.
The Immortalists almost felt like I was reading a short story collection, with each siblings’ life told separately but also cohesively, beginning with Simon, the youngest of the four. The stories are told from the viewpoints of the youngest Gold to the eldest, which was not lost on me. I was fully immersed in each story, feeling excitement (Simon), anger (Daniel), frustration (Varya) and worry (Klara) for each person, the same ones I feel for my siblings to this day. Ms. Benjamin knows how to draw emotions from her readers. She knows how to draw us in and hold us there, to the point of almost missing our subway stop.
The Immortalists will be published in January 2018, but I highly recommend you pre-order the book. You will not be disappointed.
I received a review copy of this book from Net Galley.