Eternal Life
Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can’t die. Her recent troubles—widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son—are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she’s tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever.But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren—consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering—develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out.Gripping, hilarious, and profoundly moving, Eternal Life celebrates the bonds between generations, the power of faith, the purpose of death, and the reasons for being alive.

Eternal Life Details

TitleEternal Life
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 23rd, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN-139780393608533
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Adult

Eternal Life Review

  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Eternal Life, by Dara Horn, Jan. 2018Horn’s latest novel, Eternal Life, follows Rachel, daughter of Azaria, through more 2,000 years of her many lives. Teenage Rachel and her true love, Elazar make a sacred vow to save the life of their first born son, Yochaman, and in doing so, sacrifice their own death for him. Eternal life for Rachel comes with a very high price, and the suffering of losing her children and loved ones over and over again is almost more than she can bear. This is a powerful bo Eternal Life, by Dara Horn, Jan. 2018Horn’s latest novel, Eternal Life, follows Rachel, daughter of Azaria, through more 2,000 years of her many lives. Teenage Rachel and her true love, Elazar make a sacred vow to save the life of their first born son, Yochaman, and in doing so, sacrifice their own death for him. Eternal life for Rachel comes with a very high price, and the suffering of losing her children and loved ones over and over again is almost more than she can bear. This is a powerful book of family, faith, death, and ultimately, the meaning of life. Recommended for fans of flawless literary fiction. Dara Horn is one of the most gifted writers of her generation. I feel totally incapable of writing a review for her work; she is brilliant. Everyone should read Dara Horn.
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  • Marika
    January 1, 1970
    Oftentimes love is forbidden, which makes it even more dangerous. This is the story of Rachel, a young woman living in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who made a disastrous and foolish oath to a temple priest in order to save the life of her child. The price is that neither she, nor the baby's father can ever die. Ever. She rears families, only to suffer as she witnesses them grow old and die, make stupid decisions and worse, be a fool. Yes, she grows old but she always comes back as the 18 year old wo Oftentimes love is forbidden, which makes it even more dangerous. This is the story of Rachel, a young woman living in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who made a disastrous and foolish oath to a temple priest in order to save the life of her child. The price is that neither she, nor the baby's father can ever die. Ever. She rears families, only to suffer as she witnesses them grow old and die, make stupid decisions and worse, be a fool. Yes, she grows old but she always comes back as the 18 year old woman that she once was. Day after day, year after year, century after century. Now Rachel is obsessed with thinking about the reasons for being alive: to correct mistakes, to avoid regret, to accept regret and to change. This is a marvelous work of historical fiction, filled with Jewish history, mysticism, and certainly one that will have you researching Yochanan ben Zakkai, the Jewish revolt against Rome, and the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE.I read an advance copy and was not compensated.
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  • M.E. Tudor
    January 1, 1970
    How many mothers would gladly give their life to save their child? When Rachel agrees to give up her death to save her sick son, she doesn’t really understand what that means until she’s burnt to death and wakes up the same age she was when she and her lover to a vow together to save their son’s life. Two thousand years and many lives and deaths later, Rachel is ready to really die. She’s tired of watching her husbands and children growing old and dying. In the modern era, her favorite granddaug How many mothers would gladly give their life to save their child? When Rachel agrees to give up her death to save her sick son, she doesn’t really understand what that means until she’s burnt to death and wakes up the same age she was when she and her lover to a vow together to save their son’s life. Two thousand years and many lives and deaths later, Rachel is ready to really die. She’s tired of watching her husbands and children growing old and dying. In the modern era, her favorite granddaughter, Hannah is a scientist studying DNA who may finally be able to give Rachel what she wants most, a real death. This story is so well written you won’t mind traveling from modern times to ancient times to find out why Rachel feels the way she does about her eternal life, and why figuring out why life should have an end.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    When Rachel was very young and foolish, she made a sacred pact to save her son. Rather than her life, though, she sacrificed her death. Thus, Rachel keeps living through the centuries, loving and losing a succession of husbands and children. The only constant is her immortal beloved, who has been wooing/stalking her since Roman times. The novel alternates between her first life in ancient Jerusalem and the present day, when a fresh crop of descendants inspires her to resume her quest for an endi When Rachel was very young and foolish, she made a sacred pact to save her son. Rather than her life, though, she sacrificed her death. Thus, Rachel keeps living through the centuries, loving and losing a succession of husbands and children. The only constant is her immortal beloved, who has been wooing/stalking her since Roman times. The novel alternates between her first life in ancient Jerusalem and the present day, when a fresh crop of descendants inspires her to resume her quest for an ending. Humorous, heartbreaking, and touching rumination on the point of being human and alive.
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  • Jaime
    January 1, 1970
    I very rarely write reviews on GR anymore, but this book struck me in such a way that it felt strangely familiar yet very new. Maybe because of the Jewish history woven throughout the book, maybe because of the themes of death and rebirth and parenting that seem to be so prevalent in my life lately; I don’t know. But I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to hear all of Rachel’s stories, all about all of her children, and what lies in store for her. I haven’t read a book like this in a while, and I a I very rarely write reviews on GR anymore, but this book struck me in such a way that it felt strangely familiar yet very new. Maybe because of the Jewish history woven throughout the book, maybe because of the themes of death and rebirth and parenting that seem to be so prevalent in my life lately; I don’t know. But I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to hear all of Rachel’s stories, all about all of her children, and what lies in store for her. I haven’t read a book like this in a while, and I am so grateful for this story.
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  • Erika Dreifus
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I were in a book club specifically to talk about this book.
  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    This is a sweeping look at eternity and the love that binds parents and their child. We make deals with God all the time - in times of despair or just when we need a bit of good luck but would you make a deal to live forever in exchange for God sparing the life of your son. That is exactly what Rachel and the boy's father did in biblical times. Rachel has watched her hundreds of children grow old, outlived all of her husbands only to die and be reborn as someone new. Her true love also made the This is a sweeping look at eternity and the love that binds parents and their child. We make deals with God all the time - in times of despair or just when we need a bit of good luck but would you make a deal to live forever in exchange for God sparing the life of your son. That is exactly what Rachel and the boy's father did in biblical times. Rachel has watched her hundreds of children grow old, outlived all of her husbands only to die and be reborn as someone new. Her true love also made the pact and they continue to meet up but never stay together for long. When one of Rachel's grandchildren tries to study the secret of her longevity and asks for a DNA sample for a study her world spins out of control. The blend of old Hebrew teachings made modern and the flashbacks back to Rachel's first life is magical. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Sophia Jones
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I'm still sorting out my feelings about this book and I may up the rating in the future. This was a fast and immersive read. The author definitely did her research for the historical aspects of this book and those were my favorite parts of the book. I would read a book by her set just ancient or late antique Jerusalem in a heartbeat. She made it feel so alive and engaged in discussions of what is important in a religion and how the destruction of the Second Temple affected Jewish comm 3.5 stars. I'm still sorting out my feelings about this book and I may up the rating in the future. This was a fast and immersive read. The author definitely did her research for the historical aspects of this book and those were my favorite parts of the book. I would read a book by her set just ancient or late antique Jerusalem in a heartbeat. She made it feel so alive and engaged in discussions of what is important in a religion and how the destruction of the Second Temple affected Jewish communities up until today. However, the part of the book that took place in the present was not as engaging to me. I guess I just wasn't attached to Rachel's family and the plotline interested me less. I also found the ending of the book to be unsatisfying but I'm a person who struggles with open-ended conclusions to books, and if that's not you, you'l probably really enjoy it. I really liked Rachel's character. She was sympathetic and relateable but also burdened and I thought Horn did a great job balancing those two. Rachel's love interest (which is not the right word AT ALL, but there is no term to describe the relationship she has with this man) was also well written. Their relationship was not healthy or admirable, but it was well written and made sense. It was complicated and explored the history and the struggles the two characters had.. So overall, this was an enjoyable read and many aspects of it were fantastic, but I just didn't get drawn in quite enough to give this four or five stars.
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  • Shellie Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    I'm honestly somewhere between a 3 and a 4-star review on this book...Rachel can't die, but she wants to. After living two thousand years and watching children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, lovers, husbands, and more die, who wouldn't want to die? This book explores the subject of immortality and how on one side it sounds appealing, living forever, but realistically, is it really something humans should strive for?I enjoyed how this book made a full circle and I appreciated the connection I'm honestly somewhere between a 3 and a 4-star review on this book...Rachel can't die, but she wants to. After living two thousand years and watching children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, lovers, husbands, and more die, who wouldn't want to die? This book explores the subject of immortality and how on one side it sounds appealing, living forever, but realistically, is it really something humans should strive for?I enjoyed how this book made a full circle and I appreciated the connections that the author made throughout the story between characters and events. I think my hold back for me was that I had just recently read "The Immortalists" by Chloe Benjamin which also tackled the subject of death with Jewish main characters. I may have been slightly burnt out on the topic by the time I got my hands on "Eternal Life." However, I still think this book had a poignant message that transcends time and all walks of life.
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  • Paula Pergament
    January 1, 1970
    Eternal Life takes the reader on Rachel Azaria's two thousand year journey, a journey she embarks upon when she gives up her death in order to save her first son. This book explores questions that will provoke dynamic conversations among readers, such as would someone blessed (or cursed) with immortality make the same decisions over again when starting over again in a new life with a new family in a new country? Joining Rachel throughout her journey is the father of her first son, the only perso Eternal Life takes the reader on Rachel Azaria's two thousand year journey, a journey she embarks upon when she gives up her death in order to save her first son. This book explores questions that will provoke dynamic conversations among readers, such as would someone blessed (or cursed) with immortality make the same decisions over again when starting over again in a new life with a new family in a new country? Joining Rachel throughout her journey is the father of her first son, the only person who understands what she has experienced, and who refuses to give up on the notion that they are meant to be together despite Rachel's fears and objections. The reader witnesses the Romans' ruination of ancient Jerusalem through Rachel's eyes, as well as her struggle to come to grips with 21st century values and technology. This is a thoughtful book about what it means to live forever and to find purpose.
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