Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

So I apparently have book club fever and am now a member of two book clubs. This one, I'm running, so it's a bit of a different experience.

Second Book Club, Book #1

Powerful. This is the most powerful book I've read in a long time. To call this book good isn't doing it proper justice, but I'd put it on my 'Must Read' list without question. 

The tragic and disturbing stories of four siblings, given a terrible gift that ultimately leads to serious consequences for each, are so well-told, so intense, you don't even pause to search for a nugget of positivity to pull you out of some dark places. You live their lives beside them, and they feel real and severe in all the ways you want fictional characters to be.

We meet the four Gold siblings on the cusp of the 1970's, while still in their youth. A typical, lower-middle class, northeastern, Jewish family until word of the arrival of a mystical woman who can tell you the day you'll die draws the children in, forever changing their lives. The knowledge they're each given individually clearly affects life choices, often to their detriment, but they all go on and live as long as they can. 

Among the nagging finality of knowing your death day, the author frames out other important elements. Somehow drawn out by the crux of the novel, gaining this information nobody should ever have, each sibling experiences some form of mental illness. With these character developments comes a subtle commentary on the topic, branching out into the necessity of human connection, the importance of experiencing love, and the horror of obsession.

Again, powerful comes to mind in how all these elements made me feel, how they combined to drive the story forward.

Prepare yourself for an intense read, but don't ignore this book. It has the goods.