I’m still reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Following the demise of Simon; the youngest Gold and first to die, we enter Proteus and the magical life of Klara Gold. The youngest daughter of the Gold family, a magician who also dies pretty young.
Fated to die by the age of 31, I spent a lot of time trying to guess when specifically since it seemed pretty obvious that she was chasing the ghost of her grandmother. Klara has always been obsessed with the metaphysical, even enthusiastically agreeing to see the psychic in the first place.
After Simon’s death, Klara spirals into darkness. Her talent being squandered at dinner theaters around San Francisco. She rekindles her friendship with Raj one of the firsts people she befriended when they moved there. As the pair chase Klara’s dreams of stardom they fall in love and start a family.
Still she’s always seemed preoccupied with her grandmother, a former entertainer and circus act. Klara starts out chasing the metaphorical ghost of her grandmother and namesake, by following down the same path. This pursuit expands into a literal chasing of ghosts; believing she can communicate with Simon from beyond the grave. An obsession that may be a hallucination joined by or worsened by her drinking.
Finishing Proteus, it felt anti-climactic and murky. Obviously clarification will come with reading on but for now I’m stuck wondering. This may sound really rude or inappropriate but … did Klara kill herself? I was expecting her to plummet from the stage while performing the jaws of life.
I was a bit disappointed.
I was expecting her to die much like Houdini or Thurston since she was a magician and Benjamin felt the need to mention them. The section heavily details Klara’s alcohol abuse, I’d assumed she’d get drunk and slip from the rope. I even considered that maybe she would get into a car accident or acquire some kind of alcohol related illness.
Instead the final pages of Proteus were chaotic as if the reader is sharing in Klara’s drunken manic thoughts. She was fated to die January 1, 1991.
Her show was set to open on that date. What I thought was a mounting excitement for the opening performance seemed to be Klara’s descent into madness.
The final moments of the scene seem to be the young mom and Vegas starlet’s intentional demise.
Whereas Simon’s choices may have still led him to the same path regardless of his move. It seems Klara’s end was by her own hands. Was she insane or truly in touch with the spiritual world?
Grief and guilt over Simon’s death was the root of her drinking problem. Her obsession with magic and the metaphysical more poisonous than any bottle.
Klara was able to find love and start a new generation but her focus was always on the past she couldn’t change. The father she no longer had. The brother she couldn’t save.
My biggest question from this section of the book is…Did Klara fulfill her own prophecy?
Have You Been Reading Along?
Do You Think Klara Fulfilled Her Own Prophecy?