Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Immortalists

The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin
Pub Jan 2018

 How would your life change if you knew what day you'd die? Four siblings bored of summertime visit a Romani mystic and leave with information that will change all of their lives. The story unfolds like a modern day Greek tragedy - bursting with a weird sort of self-propelled cosmic irony. So even though there was plenty about this book that I did like, it was basically everything happening between the plot lines. The bulk of the story kept me pretty bewildered. First off, going against all human instinct, none of the characters even try to rebel against the prophecies that they say they don't believe in. I'd understand this for a few of them to throw expectations to the wind but all four just full blast steer into the skid. Of course it's cliche to reject fate, but that's only because it's so painfully human to do so. On top of that, none of the characters --main or side-- were very likeable (barring Robert the dancer, he was great). Even the most rational ones of the bunch just dove headfirst into some nonsensical situations making it harder and harder to suspend disbelief as things unraveled.

 Now, what I did like. Each character had well-crafted, unique interpretations of the idea that "thoughts have wings" that there is power in "mind over matter." So much about our perception of reality not accessible to our conscious mind and this was explored beautifully. From her discussions of the placebo effect in medicine to physical and psychological forcing of a magicians illusions, this was where Benjamin's reflections on mortality and free will really shone through.

0 thoughts: