If Seers Could Really See

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The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin
G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 346 pages, $26.

 

IT’S A QUESTION as old as Greek tragedy (or older): what part does fate play in our lives? What if you could somehow know your ultimate fate? Would that knowledge change the way you lived your life? Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalist takes these questions and gives them a clever, modern spin. Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya are four siblings growing up in New York City. One day in 1969 they pay a visit to a fortune-teller who seemingly has the ability to predict the precise date on which each of them will die. The children listen in shock as each one is told the terrible news, separately. Each reacts differently to the news, and the four sections of the book are essentially each sibling’s way of dealing with this knowledge.

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Dale Boyer is the author of the novelsThe Dandelion Cloud and Thornton Stories.

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