First of all, let me express how much I enjoyed this novel! (Immensely, hello!) Not only is it a well-crafted story that highlights the relationship between four siblings as children in 1969, but follows those siblings throughout important life decisions that are made in the wake of the prophecy they each receive from a fortune teller.
From Google Books:
“It's 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York's Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they're about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.
Over the years that follow, the siblings must choose how to live with the prophecies the fortune-teller gave them that day. Will they accept, ignore, cheat or defy them? Golden-boy Simon escapes to San Francisco, searching for love; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician; eldest son Daniel tries to control fate as an army doctor after 9/11; and bookish Varya looks to science for the answers she craves.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists is a story about how we live, how we die, and what we do with the time we have.”
The most important element of this novel, for me, is reflection; the time I spent considering the weight of words and how we, as people, often allow ourselves to be influenced by the ideas of outside sources. Did the Gold children make the choices they made based on the fortune teller’s words? Had they never gone to see the Romani woman, would their lives have been significantly different? If the same prophecy had been told by anyone else—say, a family member—would the children have allowed those words to hang about them as a shroud, a force that seemed to dictate what they were destined to do in life.
***SPOILER WARNING: If you do not want elements of the novel to be spoiled, do not read further.***
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January's Apostrophe Box featured Joe Hill's Strange Weather, the newest release from the horror writer. This collection of four short novels debuted at #9 on the New York Times bestseller list.
The four novellas that make up Strange Weather are Snapshot, Loaded, Aloft, and Rain. Each story differs from the next in terms of the point-of-view character, but, as one would expect from a collection of short novels, there are similarities aplenty. Let's chat a bit about the novel, shall we?