Anxiety induced insomnia is bad but having The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin to keep me company all night was bright spot on an otherwise miserable evening.
On a lark the four Gold children go to meet a fortune teller who tells them the day that they will die. The novel follows the lives of Varya, Daniel, Klara and Simon after they have been given their death date. Benjamin does a great job weaving the stories of the four siblings together in a cohesive and authentic way. Her writing provoked so many questions in my own mind. What would I do? Would I believe something like this?
The story made me think of the Death Clock. When I was in middle school, the Death Clock was a craze for awhile. I remember entering my birthday and gender and then being horrified when an answer was unceremoniously spit out. How did it know?! I didn’t even tell it that much information. I was 11 or 12 when I had my first brush with the Death Clock and it haunted me for months.
At it’s heart, the novel focuses on the role of fate and our decisions. Are the Gold children destined to die as predicted by the gypsy? Or did their choices, in reaction to the prediction, lead them in a direction they otherwise would not have gone? Chloe Benjamin’s novel creates an interesting space for the reader to reflect on their own ideas about fate and whether the choices we make are really are own or predetermined in the stars.