Sunday, January 7, 2018

A love letter to Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists

Dear Chloe,

You probably don't remember me, but I was first in line for your galley signing of The Immortalists at the American Library Association conference last summer. When you got there, you were surprised and excited to see so many people in line for you, a relatively unknown author who was already garnering serious buzz about your sophomore novel six months before its publication. I admit, at the time, I thought it was your first novel because I didn't remember hearing about you. I'm sorry. I've requested your first novel, which was longlisted for a prize I follow very closely, from the library. I can't wait to read it.

I didn't pick up The Immortalists until December because I like to read books about a month before they're published. From the very first pages, I knew I was in good hands. I'm writing this letter because I want to thank you for writing the best book I've read in the last two and a half years. It's a really big deal to me to read a book and rate it six stars out of five. I've been blogging about books for more than ten years, and The Immortalists is only the seventh I've rated six stars. It's the longest gap I've had between six-star reads, but it also follows the blessed reading year of 2015 when I had an unprecedented two.

Six-star reads are really special to me. They're unexplainable to some extent because they are of the highest quality, which can be shared, but they also touch me so deeply emotionally and intellectually that they change me. Reading a six-star book is one of the most personal and unshareable experiences I know of. Six-star books mean so much to me they break my scale.

As I read The Immortalists, I was equally enchanted with your writing and your characters, who feel like family. I copied so many passages from this book, but I think this one is my favorite: "She knew that stories did have the power to change things: the past and the future, even the present. She had been an agnostic since graduate school, but if there was one tenant of Judaism with which she agreed, it was this: the power of words. They weaseled under door cracks and through keyholes. They hooked into individuals and wormed through generations." Perhaps it's my favorite because I agree. I also love it because it's exactly what this book did to me, and it made me feel like part of your book in the way your book has become part of my story.

I'll be recommending your book all year. I've already bought a few copies to give as gifts. I'm making Mr. Nomadreader read at as part of our two-person book club. I can't begin to explain how much I love this book and how much reading it meant to me. Thank you for the gift of this novel, and welcome to my Hall of Fame.


P.S. Please tell me where I can get a t-shirt or a bag or anything with Simon & Klara & Daniel & Varya on it. I need that in my life.

Rating: 6 out of 5
Length: 352 pages
Publication date: January 9, 2018
Source: publisher

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