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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This was an incredible ride of a family drama… I don’t know quite what I expected, but it wasn’t what I got – but not in a bad way. The story starts out with four siblings headed to a “fortune teller” in New York City – a woman rumored to be able to tell anyone who visits her the exact date of their death. That fateful trip sets their lives on individual courses that are intense, insane, and incredible – with the never-answered question being whether the prophesy drove their lives or their lives drove the prophecy…

After the opening chapter, the book divides into timeline narratives chronicling each sibling’s life and experiences as they live under the knowledge of their prophesied death date. The stories can be rough – particularly the first two, for the youngest siblings. This is raw, gritty life – and death. The four sections are all well written, and the characters’ voices are distinct and strong (even when the characters themselves are not), exploring the particular personality quirks and foibles that make each sibling unique and eminently human.

Some of the stories resonated more strongly with me than others; this is not a particularly astute observation, I suppose, since the life that each story relates is so different, but it surprised me nevertheless to find myself skimming chunks of some stories and poring over each line in others. Benjamin’s writing is lovely and poignant and delicately difficult to bear at times; she has a marvelous talent for highlighting human weakness in a way that resonates like a raw nerve. It’s rough going at times, but you can’t help but learn something about yourself in the process – kind of like living life…

I don’t know that I could re-read this one; knowing the heartbreak facing this family (particularly their poor mother, eek…) I don’t think I could keep turning pages again – but the initial read was a devastating trip I am extremely glad I took.

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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