Judaism and a Death Foretold | BookishFirst

Judaism and a Death Foretold

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The Immortalists is one of the most Jewish novels that I have read in a long time, and what makes it so special is the ways that incorporates with the cultural component of the religion without being explicit about certain holidays or creating a story that centers around the Holocaust. The themes of family, death, and the mystical combine to form a story that was intensely relatable and quotable, for example: "If nothing else, Judaism had taught her to keep running, no matter who tried to hold her hostage. It had taught her to create her own opportunities, to turn rock into water and water to blood. It had taught her that such things were possible."

Chloe Benjamin's novel follows four siblings from 1969 to the 2000s, with a section dedicated to each one. I found the first two narratives to be captivating (Simon and Klara), but the last two lackluster (Daniel and Varya). Some of this could be by design as there is less connection and more fear as the story progresses, but it left me feeling like I only really knew half of the characters. I'm a sucker for magical realism and this story had lots of small touches that emphasized the surreal situation that the Gold kids find themselves in. It left me wondering more about destiny and free-will, and I would recommend this book to anyone who loves beautiful writing and a mediation on what we make of our lives before death. I will definitely pick up whatever Chloe Benjamin writes next!