I read so many good books at the end of 2019, and this is one of them. “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin.
It’s a mid-sized book, right around 350 pages. It’s split into five sections. My copy, at least, has discussion notes at the end which I’m a big fan of in my books.
This book is mystery meets family drama meets spiritual meets historical fiction. And I have to admit, as much as I ended up loving this book, the first thirty or so pages are a bit hard to get through. The four siblings who make up the main characters: Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya, begin as children. In the first thirty pages they scheme their way into a palm readers house who tells them at what age they will die.
After this moment, the book is split into four sections with each siblings as the main focus in that section. It’s a creative structure that streamlines the focus for each life and death, but I could have lived without the prologue style first thirty pages. How will you feel about it?
Favorite sibling story: Simon
Least favorite sibling story: Daniel
Major Themes: Family, death, love, how to live life to the fullest, fate vs freewill
I say that Simon is my favorite character, because I think Simon has the most fully lived life. The irony? He dies first. Not only does Simon live his life to the fullest, but he takes chances. He’s a dancer. He moves across the country with Klara. He is afraid, but he understands that sometimes the best things in life worth doing are the things that scare us.
It’s interesting that the two younger siblings try to forget about their death dates. Or, at least, they try to use them as motivation. Meanwhile, the two older siblings tend to dwell on the impending day. Both Daniel and Varya live very normal lives with very little risk. Varya does have a cool job, but all her passions are linked to knowing her death date.
No spoilers here, but in Varya’s section a MAJOR plot twist presents itself that I did not see coming in a million years. Not to be dramatic. The writing in her section is probably the best. Benjamin does a great job of pulling readers in and attaching them to these lovable characters.
And, the characters are all so distinct. Their voices are separate from one another, so much so that if it weren’t for the similar style in structure I could assume that a different writer had written each character. These are truly well-rounded characters.
If you area fan of mysteries, family dramas, the spiritual, stories with multiple settings, stories with multiple narrators, or historical fiction then you need to pick up “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. You won’t regret it.
Keep reading Bookworms xx