The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

20180907_215451Title: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Verdict: 4/5

In a nutshell:

1969. New York. The works of a mysterious fortune-teller, had caused quite a stir among a few people in Clinton Street, and caught the attention of the Gold siblings, who were enthralled by the mysticism of it, and decided to seek her out.

After receiving their prophecies from the fortune-teller, the 4 siblings went on with their lives, each being haunted by what they were told. The novel was split into four sections – starting with Simon, the youngest, and ending with Varya, the eldest.

My thoughts:

This novel is about so many things – family, faith, fate, magic vs reality, religion, love, loss and hope. This review won’t and can’t do it justice, but I’ll try.

I enjoyed this book immensely, for many reasons.

The storytelling was remarkable. The simplicity in the writing added depth, and made the story flow seamlessly, allowing me to enjoy it in its entirety. There was a lot of thought that went into it, leaving no words wasted, giving the story a consistent rhythm.

Although there weren’t any ‘carrot’ (my term for the ‘big pull/plot’) or suspense to take you through it, the novel is held strongly by the characters and their individual stories. Albeit the slow start, I was compelled to continue by these questionsWhat have the siblings been told? Why were they told separately? Why was Simon, only 7 then, so bothered by it? Now that they know their fates, how was it going to affect them? Or will it affect them at all? How were they going to live their lives?

Every character stood out to me – flawed, interesting, real, and most of all, thoroughly researched. I particularly liked Simon and Klara. Their personalities, chemistry and relationship spoke to me the most, Klara especially. She took risks, conquered her fears, doubts and critics. She decided “she won’t be the one who is sawed or tied in chains. She’ll be the saw.” Her unquenchable hunger to understand life, magic vs reality; and to achieve what others deemed ‘impossible’, drove her to accomplish her dreams. Varya and Daniel, on the other hand, being the older siblings, were bogged down by responsibilities and reality, hence they were more ‘rigid’ and obligated to live by the rules.

The author also created such a beautiful tight-knit family, who were bonded by their differences in personalities and their beliefs; their complicated relationships; their ambivalence attitude towards their mother who brought them up single-handedly, and their undeniable love for one another. And you can’t help but to want to be part of their journey, their world, their family.

Food for thought

This novel left me a lot to think about – one of the other many reasons why I loved it. It made me ponder – everything that happened to the Gold siblings, was it all their own doing, or was it destiny/fate as predicted by the fortune-teller?

Can science and research really help us live longer, or is it there to just give us hope; that by taking the recommended actions our lives can be prolonged?

All that said, I personally think this isn’t a book for everyone. I suggest you to read the prologue and first 2 or 3 chapters first. If they don’t intrigue you at all, maybe this just isn’t for you.

Last but not least

I want to leave you and myself with this to think about:

“In inventing God, we’ve developed the ability to consider our own straits—and we’ve equipped Him with the kind of handy loopholes that enable us to believe we only have so much control. The truth is that most people enjoy a certain level of impotence. But I think we do have control—so much that it scares us to death. As a species, God might be the greatest gift we’ve ever given ourselves. The gift of sanity.”

and this:

“Thoughts have wings.”

“Words have power.”

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful review of this powerful novel, Jee! You are right- it seems to be love or hate, but I absolutely loved these siblings. Simon and Klara were my favorites, too. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you Jennifer! xoxo You know, I even dreamt I was in one of Klara’s performances! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Daniela Ark says:

      I have this one on my TBR but didn’t know it was so thought-provoking! A must read! Love the quotes you shared! Great review!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jee Wan says:

        Tq Daniela! And thanks for stopping by 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rae Longest says:

    This is definitely going on my TBR list! Great review. It amazes me how similar our taste in books is…we’ll both read ANYTHING! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Hahhahaa you’re so right Rae! I basically read ANYTHING that sounds intriguing to me ahahah 🙂 And I’m so glad I found you and your blog! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rae Longest says:



  3. Leslie says:

    Great review!! I have been eyeing this one and I think I’m just going to go ahead and add it to the TBR. I’m glad that you enjoyed it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      TQ Leslie! And I can’t wait to read what you think about it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great review! You’ve convinced me to put it on my TBR, I love the idea of fortune-telling and how it can affect people’s lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did 🙂 can’t wait to hear what you think about it! 🙂


  5. Bookapotamus says:

    I am so late to the party on this one! I think I need to read it sooner than later – great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you! Always remember we are never too late for any book! Any time is a good time as long as we feel that the time is right to read it 😉


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