The Immortalists / Chloe Benjamin

Welp, looks like I won’t be having my fortune told anytime soon. If you’re looking for a read that will put on display the bonds of family, this ain’t that book. A wild ride for sure, but one that may leave you in fetal position and a bit haunted for an extended measure of time.

Now that I’ve resumed a standing position and held a few decent therapy sessions, I figured I was stable enough to write this book review.

This story revolves around the Gold family. Four siblings, living in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1969 hear the rumors rippling through the city. A mystical traveling psychic has settled in the city for a bit and is telling people the day in which they will die.

These children, fascinated by the rumors, seek out the woman and hear their fortunes. These prophecies unfold over the next five decades. The book is divided into four parts and each part is told from the perspective of one of the Gold siblings. It takes us from San Francisco during the time of Harvey Milk and the fight for gay rights, to Las Vegas in the ’80s and the rise of successful magicians, to an army doctor living in a post 9/11 world and a present day scientist seeking immortality.

“The power of words. They weaseled under door crevices and through keyholes. They hooked into individuals and wormed through generations.”

Chloe Benjamin

This book covers so much ground and each story is fascinating. Although, I thought a bit more of the mystique in which the book begins would carry throughout the novel. This isn’t the case. Instead there are just a lot of depressing realities.

I think that is the point Chloe Benjamin is trying to make. It is the blurred lines surrounding what we choose to believe effecting our eventual outcomes. Do some things happen just because our beliefs willed them so? A lot of chicken or egg stuff going on here. I feel like the author had this fantastic idea but perhaps ran astray in her execution. In my opinion, there was a missed opportunity to really dive into these questions in a unique way.

3 stars – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Very tragic, I shed many tears and thoughts of this book stayed with me for a bit. Yet, I just can’t give this a higher rating because I was left a tad unsatisfied. Some of the characters in this book weren’t fully established for me. The mystical magic in the beginning diminished to nothing by the end. The book started out really strong but the last chapter felt rushed and left me wanting more. A great premise but just didn’t quite hit the mark for me.