If you could be told the exact date that you will die, would you want to know?
In the novel The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, four adolescent siblings in 1969 do just that. When they hear about an old gypsy woman who reads fortunes in their Lower East Side neighborhood, together they set out to meet her and learn their fates. What she tells them will forever alter their lives.
Simon escapes to the West Coast to find his identity. Klara becomes a mentalist and a magician in Las Vegas. Daniel lands his dream job as a physician for the Armed Forces. And Varya becomes a researcher finding ways to increase life spans. But for each, the knowledge they carry of their expiration dates haunts them. Was the fortune they were given all those years earlier their destiny, unable to be changed? Or did they inadvertently behave in a way that would make the predictions come true?
Marrying literary fiction with elements of fantasy and mysticism, The Immortalists follows each of the four Gold siblings through their lives as make their way through adulthood, ever aware of their own mortality. Family bonds are strengthened and broken, careers ambitions are realized and destroyed, loved ones are there one day and gone the next. There’s a lot to unpack with this novel; it would lend itself to some thought-provoking discussion for a book club.