Have you ever wanted to know when and how you were going to die? The Gold children did; Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon hear about a psychic woman who is telling people when they are going to die. Fascinated they go to see her and one by one they learn when they are going to die. None of them are sure whether they believe it or not but their fortunes alter the next several decades of their lives. I was really drawn into this story, each of the Gold’s struggles against societal expectations and their own personal fears but their familial love also upholds them during their darkest hours. I empathized with most of the characters, although it was somewhat of a struggle for me to relate to Daniel; perhaps because he is a man, maybe because he is a military doctor but everyone will find something to relate to in this book full of family dynamics. The Gold’s foreknowledge proves to be a dangerous thing. Do they make the psychic’s predictions come true or would they have been on that path from the beginning? Jumping around between different time periods we follow; Simon-a young gay man in San Francisco, who becomes a ballerina in an all male troupe, Klara-who has spent years teaching herself the most difficult magic tricks but cannot find anyone willing to give her a chance, Daniel-a military doctor in a post 9/11 world who is simply doing his best even though he does not want to send young men off to die, and Varya-a scientist studying how diet affects lifespan in primates but is tightly controlled by her OCD. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is slightly dark contemporary fiction novel with dashes of magical realism.
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