Tinder Press Paperback July 12th 2018
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 are about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.
Such prophecies could be dismissed as trickery and nonsense, yet the Golds bury theirs deep. Over the years that follow they might attempt to ignore, embrace, cheat or defy the ‘knowledge’ given to them that day – but it will shape the course of their lives forever.
First huge thanks to Caitlin at Tinder Press for sending me a copy of this book, the cover alone is pretty appealing right!?
Four children, Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya pay a secretive visit to the mysterious lady in the flat, rumoured to be able to tell you when you will die. Not all 4 children necessarily want this information, they are aged between 7 & 13 and the whole idea is a bit scary, but they are persuaded.
Following the initial section the book is divided into 4 sections, following the lives of Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya as they reach adulthood and onwards. The book is written in chronological order and flows well. The storyline was superb and the characters strong, I particularly liked Simon. The premise of this book though is centred around the notion of how you live your life if you know exactly when you are going to die. The author, I think explores this incredibly well, especially in the lives of Simon and Varya. This notion is then taken further in terms of how much does this knowledge (or belief – for it was just a prophecy) become self fulfilling – a placebo effect. We believe it so it must come true. Next then is what makes a life, and the age old question of quality or quantity, how important is longevity and at what cost?
Safe to say I found this book incredibly thought provoking, exactly the type of book I adore – it entertains while challenging you to think, almost a lesson, wrapped up in a book!
At 400 pages the reader gets to know the Golds fairly well and their story is interesting and well told. I enjoyed this book in its entirety but was impressed by the ending which was clever in its openness and the parallels in Varya’s work and personal life were insightful and well considered.
At August I feel safe in calling this one of my top reads of 2018 and will be recommending it far and wide!
Have you read it? Tell me in the comments what you thought – or if you haven’t read it have I inspired you to? Is it on your TBR already?
Thanks for reading.
‘It’s amazing how good this book is’ Karen Joy Fowler
‘A boundlessly moving inquisition into mortality, grief and passion‘ The Observer