Eternal Life (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
Eternal Life Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Staff Reviews

Why would a physically and psychologically healthy woman want to die? Because she can’t. There’s an arresting premise: eternal life as a curse. Rachel traded the possibility of her own death 2,000 years ago to save the life of her first child. Over the course of two millennia she’s been through dozens of marriages and given birth to hundreds of children. Through it all she’s had an on-again, off-again intense and infuriating relationship with her first great love, the father of her first child. This is a novel like no other: its countless twists and turns can be startling, heart-wrenching, hilarious, philosophical, uplifting, disturbing, or thought provoking –  sometimes several at once. Book clubs will have a field day discussing this one!

- Banna

— From Banna's New Recs

February 2018 Indie Next List

“Eternal Life is a stunningly moving and lively investigation of mortality. It is also a story of profound love - young love, eternal love, and the love of parents for their children. Rachel, whose inability to die animates the plot, is a strong, willful, and complex woman. Dara Horn, whom I have long admired, infuses the book with her profound knowledge of Judaism, without ever becoming dull or didactic. This is an ode to the joys, sorrows, and brevity of existence as seen through the improbable lens of eternal life - and it made me cry! Highly recommended.”
— Lilla Weinberger, Readers' Books, Sonoma, CA


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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393608533
ISBN-10: 0393608530
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2018
Pages: 256
Language: English