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The Immortalists


Product Description

It's 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York's Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they're about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.

Over the years that follow, the siblings must choose how to live with the prophecies the fortune-teller gave them that day. Will they accept, ignore, cheat or defy them? Golden-boy Simon escapes to San Francisco, searching for love; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician; eldest son Daniel tries to control fate as an army doctor after 9/11; and bookish Varya looks to science for the answers she craves.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, THE IMMORTALISTS is a story about how we live, how we die, and what we do with the time we have.

Author: Chloe Benjamin

Paperback, 352 Pages, Published January 2018

Recommended and reviewed by Graeme

"This novel has a wonderful premise - in the summer of 1969 on New York’s Lower East Side four young siblings sneak off from their parents to visit a travelling fortuneteller who is famous for being able to predict the date of one’s death. But this tantalising feat does not unfold as these four children have imagined - only one of them is assured of a ripe old age - and in the chapters that follow we see how their individual prophecies impact on each of the siblings. Notably, Simon, the youngest, who was informed that he would die very young which propels him to abruptly abandon the care of his mother and run away with his older sister Klara to San Francisco. There he embraces his attraction to men and an interest in dance, working as a go-go dancer in a club but also studying serious dance. But this is 1980s San Francisco and it doesn't take psychic abilities for the reader to work out what Simon’s fate will be and yes, that he will indeed die very young. The book is structured with a prologue - the visit to the psychic - and then four sections devoted to each Gold sibling, in the order in which they will die. After Simon’s story we turn to Klara, who like her grandmother before her, is fascinated by magic tricks and the blurring of reality. Eldest son David, an army doctor, is haunted by the premature deaths of his younger siblings and becomes increasingly obsessed with tracking down the psychic who he blames for crushing impressionable minds. And then finally there is Varya, destined to live the longest, a scientist, consumed by her research with rhesus monkeys into extending human longevity through a restricted diet. This family saga is an absolute page turner which is how it found its way onto The New York Times Top Ten bestseller list. But it also has a special appeal to gay male readers with Simon’s storyline taking up almost one third of the novel."


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