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The Immortalists The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
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“She understands, too, the loneliness of parenting, which is the loneliness of memory—to know that she connects a future unknowable to her parents with a past unknowable to her child.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Most adults claim not to believe in magic, but Klara knows better. Why else would anyone play at permanence--fall in love, have children, buy a house--in the face of all evidence there's no such thing?”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“The cost of loneliness is high, she knows, but the cost of loss is higher.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“The power of words. They weaseled under door crevices and through keyholes. They hooked into invididuals and wormed through generations.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“I suppose I think we need God for the same reason we need art.” “Because it’s nice to look at?” “No.” Mira smiled. “Because it shows us what’s possible.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Magic is only one tool among many for keeping one another alive.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“When Klara plucks a coin from inside someone's ear or turns a ball into a lemon, she hopes not to deceive but to impart a different kind of knowledge, an expanded sense of possibility. The point is not to negate reality, but to peel back its scrim, revealing reality's peculiarities and contradictions. The very best magic tricks, the kind Klara wants to perform, do not subtract from reality. They add.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“She'll tell herself that what she really wanted was not to live forever, but to stop worrying.

'What if I change?' she asked the fortune teller, all those years ago, sure that knowledge could save her from bad luck and tragedy. 'Most people don't,' the woman said.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Most adults claim not to believe in magic, but Klara knows better. Why else would anyone play at permanence - fall in love, have children, buy a house - in the face of all evidence there's no such thing? The trick is not to convert them. The trick is to get them to admit it.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Character is fate—that’s what he said. They’re bound up, those two, like brothers and sisters. You wanna know the future?” She points at Varya with her free hand. “Look in the mirror.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“She knows that stories have the power to change things: the past and the future, even the present.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“He believes in bad choices; he believes in bad luck. And yet the memory of the woman on Hester Street is like a miniscule needle in his stomach, something he swallowed long ago and which floats, undetectable, except for moments when he moves a certain way and feels a prick.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“She’d tell herself that what she really wanted was not to live forever, but to stop worrying.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“In a way, I see religion as a pinnacle of human achievement. In inventing God, we’ve developed the ability to consider our own straits—and we’ve equipped Him with the kind of handy loopholes that enable us to believe we only have so much control. The truth is that most people enjoy a certain level of impotence. But I think we do have control—so much that it scares us to death. As a species, God might be the greatest gift we’ve ever given ourselves. The gift of sanity.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Varya has had enough therapy to know that she's telling herself stories. She knows her faith--that rituals have power, that thoughts can change outcomes or ward off misfortune--is a magic trick: fiction, perhaps, but necessary for survival. And yet, and yet: Is it a story if you believe it?”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“In New York, he would live for them, but in San Francisco, he could live for himself. And though he does not like to think about it, though he in fact avoids the subject pathologically, he allows himself to think it now: What if the woman on Hester Street is right, and the next few years are his last? The mere thought turns his life a different color; it makes everything feel urgent, glittering, precious.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Ever heard of Heraclitus?” Varya shakes her head. “Greek philosopher. Character is fate—that’s what he said. They’re bound up, those two, like brothers and sisters. You wanna know the future?” She points at Varya with her free hand. “Look in the mirror.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“You’re just like the rest of them,’ he says, ‘all the twinks and the art fags and the motherfucking bears. You guys, you go on about your rights and your freedoms, you cheer at all the parades, but all you really want’s the right to fuck some leatherman in a den on Folsom or spew your shit all over a bathhouse. You want the right to be as careless as any other white guy – any straight one. But you’re not any other white guy. And that’s why this place is so dangerous: because it lets you forget that.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“But Varya disagreed. 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.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“We got one life, right?’
‘Far as we know.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
tags: life
“Klara has always known she’s meant to be a bridge: between reality and illusion, the present and the past, this world and the next. She just has to figure out how.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Perhaps home, like the moon, will follow wherever she goes.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“His point," Varya said, "was that it's impossible to survive without dehumanizing the enemy, without creating an enemy in the first place. He said that compassion was the purview of civilians, not those whose job was to act.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“He feels only loss, not of the father he knew but of the person that Saul might have been.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“His death did not point to the failure of the body. It pointed to the power of the human mind, an entirely different adversary-to the fact that thoughts have wings”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Is there such a thing as too much pleasure? When Simon imagines the bathhouses, he thinks of a carnival of gluttony, an underworld so endless it seems possible to stay there forever. What he’s said to Robert isn’t a lie – he is afraid he wouldn’t be able to take it – but he’s also afraid he would, that his greed would have no edges and no end.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“The periodical cicada hibernates underground in broods, feeding on fluids from tree roots. It would be easy to think them dead; perhaps, in some way--sedentary and silent, nestled two feet below the soil--they are. One night, seventeen years later, they break through the surface in astounding numbers. They climb the nearest vertical object; the husks of their nymphal skins drop crisply to the ground. Their bodies are pale and not yet hardened. In the darkness, they sing.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“Klara won't be a woman who is sawed in half or tied in chains - nor will she be rescued or liberated. She'll save herself. She'll be the saw.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists
“But what I’ve realized—what I think he already knew—is that we believed in the same thing. You could call it a trapdoor, a hidden compartment, or you could call it God: a placeholder for what we don’t know. A space where the impossible becomes possible.”
Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists

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