(One to Watch For in 2018): The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (4 out of 5)

Holy hell. Another upcoming release (January, 2018) that will burn down some fields of corn husks in the winter of 2018. Scorched Earth, indeed. This really reminded me of Lauren Geoff’s “Fates and Furies”. The family dynamic is so real that there are moments when you have to set the book down and ponder. Deep, breath-robbing ponderances. On the tail end of 1969, four kids (Klara, Simon, Daniel, and Varya) from the same family pool their allowances together and sneak out to see the fortune teller in town. What makes the Gold children go and seek their fortunes? This seer can supposedly tell them their dates of death. Things don’t quite go as planned. Years later, family patriarch Saul passes away and the children react in varying degrees of grief. Klara yearns to be a magician and packs her bags for a quick escape to San Francisco, and she views her father’s death as her “get out of family jail free” card. She tells Simon this is his chance. Poor Simon, secretly hiding his sexuality, dreams of a life where he can be who he is, and he leaves his grieving mother behind and goes with Klara. Life for these two isn’t the basket of freedom and strawberries that they had hoped for. Simon begins dancing ballet in a gay bar, while Klara struggles to find a permanent job of sny kind, much less in her field. Back home, David tries to keep his shattered mom in one piece after the double barreled shotgun blast of her husband’s death and her youngest, most adored son’s abandonment. He tries to keep his dream of being a doctor alive while doing this. Sister Varya is the scientist bookworm who tries to find a way for humans to be immortal. Together, their lives change significantly as they grow older, and each one armed with that death date that the fortune teller set upon them. Does it become an actuality? And if it IS true and you don’t have a lot of time left, how would you spend your days left on this Earth? No small feat, this sweeping algorithm of family vs. fate, reality vs. hope. Dive into it with abandonment, but keep the tissues close by. And don’t kill Klara, although at moments you (me) may want to shake some sense into her. It’s a stunning book. The only thing that agitated yours truly was that I guessed what was going to happen to Simon, and sadly, I called it. That was the only thing that drive me nuts. Otherwise, you’d be a fool not yo put this on your reading radar for 2018. It will be out January 9, 2018, on G.P. Putnam (an imprint of Penguin Random House). 

~ by generationgbooks on June 7, 2017.

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