One summer day in 1969, the Gold siblings find a fortune teller who can tell people the exact day they will die. From there, we follow each sibling, in the order of their deaths, as they attempt to live out the rest of their lives. We learn not only how each of the Golds live with the news of their death date—in willful ignorance, with neurotic obsession, with wild abandon—but also how they react to their siblings’ choices, beliefs, and eventual deaths. What might seem a sensational narrative device is actually deeply grounded in the heart. What I mean by that is that the siblings’ love for one another, the way they reach for and miss one another, is perhaps amplified by the fortunes they hear, and yet Benjamin demonstrates how the fractures and glue of their relationships would have existed regardless. With empathy and wisdom, she explores the depths of sibling love and the irreplaceable intimacy of a person you have known your entire life. An affirming and magical read!
“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
Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“How would you live your life if you knew what day you’d die? This compelling novel explores this question through the interweaving lives of four siblings who, as children, are told their death dates by a fortune-teller. The Immortalists is at once a page-turning, character-driven narrative and a fascinating rumination on fate versus free will.”
— Jessamyn Duckwall, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple, Marie Claire, New York Public Library, LibraryReads, The Skimm, Lit Hub, Lit Reactor
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"A captivating family saga."--The New York Times Book Review
"This literary family saga is perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Donna Tartt."--People Magazine (Book of the Week)
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 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.
Both a dazzling family love story and 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 Immortalists, a New York Times bestseller, and The Anatomy of Dreams. A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, LibraryReads favorite, and #1 Indie Next pick, The Immortalists was named a best book of 2018 by NPR, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and others. The Anatomy of Dreams received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Chloe is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.
#1 Indie Next Pick #1 LibraryReads Pick
One of... Newsweek’s “50 Coolest Books to Read This Summer” Good Morning America’s “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer” Elle’s “19 of the Best Books to Read This Winter” Harper's Bazaar’s “10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018” Southern Living’s “Books Coming Out This Winter That We Can’t Wait to Read” Martha Stewart Living, “On Our Bookshelf” InStyle’s “10 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” Huffington Post’s “60 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018” W Magazine’s “10 Unconventional New Books About Love For Valentine's Day” Popsugar’s“25 Must-Read Books for Fall” Bustle’s “35 Most-Anticipated Fiction Books of 2018” Nylon’s “50 Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2018” Goop’s “12 Books for Winter Break” BookPage’s “Most Anticipated Fiction of 2018” Book Riot’s “101 Books Coming Out in 2018 That You Should Mark Down Now” HelloGiggles’ “Most Anticipated Books of 2018” PureWow’s “20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018” Goodreads’ “Most Anticipated Books of 2018” Book Riot’s “Most Anticipated Books of January 2018” TimeOut’s “Eleven New Books to Read This Month”
“A literary page-turner...A really compelling plotline.”—The Wall Street Journal
“The only real magic here is Benjamin’s storytelling....Poignant...A testimony of love.”—The Washington Post
“[An] amazing work of fiction...A dense, yet beautifully spun and satisfying tale that spans 50 years...Spare, yet gorgeously robust prose...and every page is imbued with [Benjamin’s] obvious storytelling skill....Begin 2018 with the book that could easily retain the year’s top spot, The Immortalists is a can’t-put-down, makes-you-think tale of a not-so-average American family.”—Associated Press
“The book spans decades, touching on the AIDs crisis, 9/11, race, and marriage. But, at its core, it’s an examination of free will and fate.”—The New Yorker
“The reader will likely be thoroughly taken by the world of the Gold siblings, in all its shades of brilliant color. It's not a totally comfortable realm, since we know all too well how this tale's going to end, but getting there is lovely.”—NPR.org
“Search no further for your inaugural 2018 book club pick.”—Elle
“A compelling family drama.”—Esquire
“Centered on four siblings and spanning decades, The Immortalists asks a seemingly simple yet unimaginably complex question: If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? The search for the answer makes for a sprawling, enchanting family saga.”—Entertainment Weekly (Must-List)
“Chloe Benjamin's family saga deftly explores destiny versus choice.”—US Weekly
“A family saga about love, destiny, living life and making choices that will cause readers to consider what to do with the time given them on this earth.”—Huffington Post
“Benjamin’s tale is propulsive and colorful, capturing moving truths about the way we handle the knowledge that we all eventually die....The premise...is brilliant and simple.”—Chicago Tribune
“Chloe Benjamin is a novelist to watch....The Immortalists weaves together philosophy and fortune-telling, to great effect....As deft and dizzying as a high-wire act...the reader is beguiled with unexpected twists and stylish, crisp prose....Unwittingly, this ambitious, unorthodox tale may change you too.”—The Economist
“As you follow [the siblings] toward their fates in this magical family saga, you’ll appreciate the unexpected in your own life.”—Redbook
“A moving novel about the deep bonds of family.”—Southern Living
“Beautifully written and intricately detailed, it's impossible to put down and sure to be one of those books you've got to re-read again and again.”—Popsugar
“Intriguing premise...Beautifully written story.”—AARP
“Suspenseful, compassionate, inquisitive, and wholly captivating.”—Bustle
"Continually ratcheting up the tension...A Jewish-American family saga.”—Newsday
"[A] captivating family saga...Each of these four narrative strands is a mini marvel, but together they form a hauntingly beautiful tapestry of familial love and loss."—Lit Hub
“Magical...There are moments as taut as a thriller, where time disappears as you turn pages; and passages of quiet compassion.”—The Seattle Times
"[A] gorgeous, sweeping novel."—American Banker
“[Benjamin] casts a spell with...her affecting family saga.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A sweeping epic that will enchant you from cover to cover.”—Paste Magazine
“A page turner, as addictive as it is emotionally searing...Captivating, moving and addictive. It makes you think, feel, fall in love, and question how to best live your days left on earth.”—Lambda Literary “An intriguing setup for an immersive family saga.”—Toronto Star
“Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists is the very best kind of literary thriller, its suspense deriving from characters we care about deeply and surprises that feel embedded in our shared humanity. As profound a meditation on destiny as readers are likely to encounter.”—Richard Russo
“For someone who loves stories about brothers and sisters, as I do, The Immortalists is about as good as it gets. A memorable and heartfelt look at what might happen to a family who knows too much. It's amazing how good this book is.”—Karen Joy Fowler
“A beautiful, compassionate, and even joyful novel. Chloe Benjamin has written an inspiring book that makes you think hard about what you want to do with the time you’re given. This is not really a book about dying—it's a book about how to live.”—Nathan Hill, author of The Nix