The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.
This is actually the second new work of fiction I've managed to finish so far this year (I will talk about the 1st closer to when it is published in late spring) and I really liked the book a lot. Here's the blurb from NetGalley that 'sold' the book to me:
It's 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York's Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they're about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.I think that what helped me finish this book over others was the format of the book. Although the siblings' lives do intertwine each of the four has a definite section and so it was like reading four novellas rather than one long novel.
Such prophecies could be dismissed as trickery and nonsense, yet the Golds bury theirs deep. Over the years that follow they attempt to ignore, embrace, cheat and defy the 'knowledge' given to them that day - but it will shape the course of their lives forever.
I found this book to be very clever - it covered vasts sweeps of American history and also remained very intimate. All of the responses given by the siblings to being given a death date seemed very real and how this knowledge affected their behaviour seemed totally plausible - do you burn brightly for a short time or do you do everything you can to live a long life? Does the knowledge overwhelm you?
I've read books before where protagonists have known their death dates but these have tended to be either dystopian fiction or pure sci-fi/fantasy and I've often found them a bit far fetched. This more literary, family focused novel was just a great read and the style just perfect for me right now.
Thanks to Net Galley for providing the eProof.