CW: HIV diagnosis, suicide (I won’t go into this by any means, but this is more content warnings for the book itself)
Would you want to know the date you die? That’s the premise behind The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. The thought of having the option to find out the date you die is terrifying to me. I think it would cause me way too much anxiety and I would constantly stress over whether I was doing enough in my life before my date approaches. This anxiety can be seen throughout the characters in The Immortalists. While I liked the book, I’m not sure if I would ever re-read it.
Four siblings: Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon find out that there’s a woman nearby them who can predict the date in which they die. They’re fascinated, and decide to visit her. Once the siblings hear their dates, they find that it does sway their lives. Varya and Daniel stay in New York to continue their studies with Varya specifically studying longevity. Klara and Simon flee to San Francisco to follow their dreams no matter how unrealistic they are. The siblings all share the fear of whether the woman was right all along.
I thought The Immortalists had an interesting premise. I will say that what I was expecting going into this book was not what the book turned out to be. As a fair warning, this is an emotionally heavy book. I did find myself crying throughout portions of the book. I wasn’t fully anticipating this, so I did put up content warnings for those who feel they need an idea as to what The Immortalists dives into.
Out of all the siblings, I found myself mostly drawn to Klara. I admired Klara because she went against her family traditions and was ambitious in trying to be a successful performer. She received a lot of critique from Daniel and Varya. Klara is in a lot of emotional pain and I just wanted to reach out to her and give her a hug. Out of all the siblings, I found myself the most annoyed with Daniel and Varya. They seemed to constantly judge others, yet they couldn’t reflect and find the hypocrisy in their lives.
I don’t have any regrets about reading The Immortalists as I think there was some interesting discussions throughout the book. I think my expectations as to what I wanted from the book versus how The Immortalists was written is why I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted to. I rated The Immortalists three stars on Goodreads.