Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 245
The Immortalists asks the dire question: if you knew exactly when you were going to die, how would you live? The story is set in the Lower East Side of New York in 1969. It tells the story of the Gold children, who are young and coming of age. They get wind of a mystic woman who claims to be able to tell the exact date of one’s death. Restless in the summer heat, the children sneak out to hear their fortune told. The children leave terrified of their fate and remain silent about their predicted dates until the passing of their father nine years later.
Simon is predicted to die at a young age, just after his 20th birthday. He runs to San Francisco in wanderlust. He comes out as a gay man and takes advantage of his newly found sexual freedom.
Klara is predicted to die in her early 30’s. She is swept up by the mysticism of it all and becomes a musician in Las Vegas. Her acts tests the boundaries between reality and imagination.
Daniel is in search of stability and becomes a doctor in the army after 9/11.
Varya tests the very question the psychic poses and researches the science of immorality.
The stories unfold sharing the ways in which the children cope with their knowledge. In many ways, it is a social experiment that follows the various choices we may make with the knowledge of when our lives will end.
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