The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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A book about four siblings knowing the day they will die and what they do with that knowledge….  it really opens up the question, would you want to know?

~Sheila

 

It is the late 1960’s and four children (from 7 – 13) find themselves before a Traveling Physic who claims to be able to tell them the day they will die.  She does, privately with each one and go on their way believing and not believing…

The Immortalists then breaks into 4 parts and follows each sibling throughout their life to that day.  What choices they make, and where it all ends.  Do they live recklessly – or with abandon – or fully… as we, those who do not know, all should never knowing when that day or this day – will be your last.

What does the sibling do that has the least amount of time?  What about the one with the most?

 

I finished this book late yesterday afternoon.  I was listening to it on audio while channeling Marie Kondo and tackling my closet.  And to be honest, I am still tossing around in my head what I think of it.

I think I am struggling because it was not what I thought it was going to be.  I expected a more magical element to the book.  One portion of the book was also way more sexually detailed then for my taste in books and while that chapter is extremely powerful, admittedly I had a few moments where I considered giving up on the book.

Now – that I have completed the book and understand what the author was doing… I feel that overall the book is brilliantly written.  The diving of the chapters is a perfect telling for this style of read.

This book was up for vote by my book club on three separate occasions and won for our current read that we will be discussing tomorrow evening.  I am super curious where they landed on this one and I feel it is going to bring out good discussion.  I am looking forward to the big questions regarding dealing with grief, and the supernatural – and of course… if we could know when our last day would be…

would we want to know? 

 

NPR Review of The Immortalists

 

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28 thoughts on “The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

  1. I love the cover, but otherwise, I have not been curious enough to pick it up. It does sound tempting, but I already have the answer to the question: knowing, for me, would take the joy out of the days. Or maybe it wouldn’t, but I prefer taking each day as it comes.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Sheila 🙂 Thanks for dropping by my blog 🙂
    I wish I had your passion for reading, I did at one point in my life, but I guess my mind is always in the kitchen these days! Summer seems to be more of a reading time for me. I like biographies a lot.

    NO, I wouldn’t want to know! I would be such a ball of anxiety that I’d not enjoy the time I had left!!!

  3. Kelly

    I bet this would be a great choice for my book club. While I have no desire to know for myself, I can see how it would work well in a novel. Thanks… I believe this will have to go on my wish list! (just what I need 🙄)

  4. grgenius

    I’ve seen this one off and on throughout the blogosphere and admittedly hadn’t given it much thought, but your review has me curious. I mean, i don’t rightly know if I’d want to know when my last day would be, but I’m rather interested to see how these siblings handled it if at all. Thanks for the rec!

  5. Maybe I gave up on this one too soon, but some of the things that bothered you bothered me, and I DNF. I liked the cover and the description, but never felt terribly engaged. I’m curious about how your book club feels about it. 🙂

    1. I was right on the verge honestly. On audio, I did not get that the book was broke into parts about each sibling and of course Simon;s story was first. I was giving myself permission to give up on a book club book (which I rarely do….) however I was working on paint touch ups to the kitchen and it seemed to get better from there. I wouldn’t say I loved the book – there was a lot of detail and at points dragged IMO, however I do appreciate the book. Hope that makes sense 🙂

  6. Hi Shelia – Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have been reading some of your posts. You have an impressive blog.

    I have heard a lot about this book from several sources. I tend to like books that cover the people’s lifetimes and that involve issues of destiny and similar stuff. I might give this a try.

  7. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and leaving a comment.

    Mmmmm, I seem to be bumping into the subject of ‘death,’ a lot of late. Which isn’t really good for the mind set. ::::::::: Would we want to know, the day of our death? A very interesting question… I can think of ‘pro’ and ‘con’ answers. ::::::::::: Would I want to know the answer? Guess the jury is still out, on that… ::::::::::: Thank you for your review. :::::::: Ahhhh, KonMari! Now that’s a topic I can be happy with! 🙂 Although I have yet to do her suggestions. Still lumbering along, a bit here and a bit there. Which I know, is not working out very well.

    💛

  8. Oh, I bet this would be good on audio! I read it last year for Booktopia (though the author got sick at the last minute & couldn’t be there). It was also different than I expected – I found it very dark and depressing – pretty much the darkest way you could go with that premise! I mean, obviously, you knew they were each going to die at the end but none of them really had a happy life or made the best of their time. I guess it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    This is definitely going to be a great discussion in your book group! Wish I could go!

    Sue

    Book By Book

  9. What a fascinating review. I think what I am most intrigued by is the fact that you had so many different thoughts about the book from start to finish. It is a concept that I am curious about and I wonder what each sibling does with their time. I can see how this book would give you a lot to think about! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. Me too; me too! I thought there was going to be magic realism and a sweeping family saga element. I was disappointed and probably the only one among tons of knitters who raved and raved about this book.

  11. I really enjoyed Simon’s story and wished that author had told it from his POV. I didn’t care for the any of the other siblings. I, too, thought there would be more of a magical element. It was in fact, rather cheap, with all that slight of hand magic stuff.

  12. This book has been interesting me for a while, but I’ve been a bit hesitant. At least, knowing in advance that the magical element isn’t as present as I imagined, I might not be as disappointed if I give it a try.

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