DailyFlash.TV Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Includes author reading from event at Books & Books, Coral Gables FL on March 13th, 2018
For a podcast episode of this review, please click here.
To purchase the book from Books & Books, please click here.
The elemental pillars of Chloe Benjamin’s latest book, The Immortalists guarantee a rewarding novel for its readers from beginning to end. The protagonists are 4 siblings, 2 girls & 2 boys. A technique commonly used in literary reviews is to choose a main character and observe their actual role. In this case, there are 4 equally strong children that grow up to be very different adults.
One benefit of Ms. Benjamin’s character development is that she is able to paint each sibling quite succinctly and vividly by employing Nabokovian precision. Yet perhaps because she is a millennial, the cruelty and rough edges are left out, with only the desire to root for each child left.
Next, Ms. Benjamin makes excellent use of foreshadowing. Alarmingly, the siblings are told the date of their own deaths by a gifted seer, while they are all very young. Many questions immediately arise: what are the dates, how is this information processed and acted upon, does it come true. If there is any accuracy, not to give anything away, it is less of a question how this is done.
This is because the divine seer is, once again, described in whole, including guesswork on her past. The seer simply has this gift. A second, main quality that Ms. Benjamin weaves into her work is the detailed mention of diverse cultures. Hindu death rituals and beliefs, and the Jewish religion abound. The culture of youth and their dreams is understood universally.
A third and very powerful element is magic itself. Ms. Benjamin revealed this evening that she spent quite a bit of time and effort to research magic. The meaning of magic itself, to the meaning in society over time and specific applications. Books containing divination spells, and specific magic tricks, are continuously peppered throughout which serves to keep the interest level high, as it is not vernacular knowledge.
The 4 siblings, add foreshadowing, multi-faceted rituals and magic. Ms. Benjamin created them, and mixes them together expertly as the quick changing Rubik’s cube.
Applause for Ms. Benjamin; DailyFlash.TV cannot wait for your next book. All of Chloe’s dedication in research, as well as her natural talent, have been greatly appreciated. Ms. Benjamin is a literary gem from the millennial generation, yet all ages attended tonight’s book review.
As a special treat for our national broadcast TV viewers and global digital audience, Ms. Benjamin reads from her book. Her prose is succinct and produces a rewarding visual narrative to be consumed quickly, yet enjoyed. It is not for the multitaskers, The Immortalists requires full attention.
Unplug and enjoy a reading from the author, hot off the press – recorded this evening. Here is a favorite passage, as warm up. Note that the book was consumed as audio book. As such, the quotation below may not be exactly as it appears in the book itself.
Excerpt from Prologue:
“On cool days, breeze from the window ruffled the family trees and old photos she keeps taped to the wall beside her bed. Through these documents, she tracks the mysterious underground brokering of traits. Genes flicking on and off and on again…”