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Check It Out: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This is Jenn Delperdang with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin—a family love story that questions how much of our lives are shaped by destiny, and how much of our future is determined by the choices we make. It started as a secret—a challenge for the Gold siblings:  Varya, Simon, Klara, and Daniel.  In the sweltering summer heat of 1969, on New York City’s Lower East Side; to find The Woman on Hester Street who could tell them their fortunes—and the day they would die. Did the fortune teller’s prophecies poison their futures?  I suppose that is for the reader to decide. This is how their story begins. Growing up believing that they know when they will die dramatically alters the course of their lives, and we experience each sibling’s struggle with the burden of this knowledge in the novel’s four distinct narratives. At 16, Simon, the youngest of the family runs away to San Francisco, determined to live authentically, just as the AIDS epidemic is emerging in the city.  Rebellious Klara, an amateur magician, joins Simon in San Francisco, where she develops her act—calling herself The Immoralist-a nod to an act that her grandmother once performed. Daniel and Varya, the older siblings, grow up to become an army doctor and a scientist respectively—both struggling in their adult lives with guilt over the loss of their siblings. Through mesmerizing characters and moving, suspenseful narratives, this thought-provoking novel will leave you thinking about the human condition. Through her engaging writing style and sweeping storyline, the author challenges us to think about what it is that we truly want out of life. Stop by the Sioux City Public Library to check out The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin—and then join us for Open Book Club on Monday, May 7th to enjoy a lively discussion about this book with fellow reading enthusiasts. 


Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.