One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:

Chloe Benjamin The Immortalists

The Immortalists

Chloe Benjamin

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Book 6 on my “March to 100 for 2019″—Chloe Benjamin: The Immortalists—Would you live your life differently if you knew when you would die?

Four young siblings hear rumor a fortune teller can let them know the exact date of their deaths. Intrigued by that possibility, they find her apartment and are given their respective dates. But will they find the information liberating or paralyzing.

In many ways, the novel becomes four short stories, following each sibling in the sequential orders of their deaths.The youngest brother, who has been told he will die young, pursues the life he has always dreamed about. A sister pushes the limits with her pursuit of performing magic. The serious brother, the family man, believes the predictions are a con, a self-fulfilling mind trick, and pursues revenge.

And, finally, the sister who was told she would live to be 88 and carries not only the weight of her own fortune, and the way she lived her life because of it, but also her reactions to how each of her siblings lived.

A fifth character, the matriarch of the family, is the common thread to all of the stories.

As the date looms for each of the siblings, you, as the reader, know the ending. And, yet, you can’t tear yourself away from the story. And that richness of the word is what makes this novel so compelling.

As you can probably imagine, a novel about death is often heavy and serious, but its final message—in a beautiful twist of story telling—is uplifting and life affirming. I won’t claim this is an easy book to read, but it is certainly rewarding.

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