Want to Know the Exact Date of Your Death?
If you knew the exact date of your death, would you be more reckless or more reverent with your life? This is the question explored in The Immortalists.
As the book opens, four siblings in New York go to see a fortune teller who says she can look into the future and give them this information. This visit takes place in 1969 when Varya is 13, Daniel is 11, Klara is 9, and Simon is 7. After the visit, we learn that Simon will die “young” (he doesn’t give his siblings the specifics), Klara will die at age 31, Daniel at 48, and Varya at 88.
The author then writes her story chronologically, giving four sections, featuring one sibling at a time. Simon comes first, then Klara, then Daniel, and then Varya. And though the author kills them off one by one on their appointed date, this is not a spoiler. The reader is still left to wonder if fate is at hand for each of the siblings, or did they force the issue and manage to take matters into their own hands?
To give you an idea of where the various storylines go, Simon leaves home at 16. He goes to San Francisco to explore his sexuality. Klara leaves home young, too, to become a magician. Daniel becomes a medical doctor, and works for the military. Varya is a Ph.D. who is working on a 20-year study on longevity. Two of the four kids marry and produce a child. Three of the kids have a connection to a San Francisco cop-turned-FBI-agent. And all four of the kids have lifelong interactions with their mother, Gertie, who was widowed before the first child left home.
If this sounds compelling to you, you are not alone in feeling this way. The book has been acquired by the Jackal Group for the small screen.