Advance reader reviews of Eternal Life

Eternal Life

A Novel

by Dara Horn

Eternal Life by Dara Horn X
Eternal Life by Dara Horn
  • Readers' rating:

  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 23, 2018
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 11 member reviews
for Eternal Life
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  • Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)


    Eternal Life by Dara Horn - An exciting trip
    Rachel is immortal and with so many lives already lived, difficult to understand at times, but you want to hold her hand and run with her to the next "version".
    Dara Horn's style of writing is so refreshing, her story so demanding that I got up in the middle of the night just to find out what happens next. Her wordplay of description and simile, English and Hebrew, slang from today and ancient times all mixed together and flowing like a river of song, easy on the eye and the mind, stirring interest so much that I could hardly wait to turn the page, but then went back and reread what I had just devoured.
    EL is a book of fantasy but it's also of could be, and of why not. So much is possible now that never was thinkable in the past, and so much of the past is inscrutable that this is a distinct possibility. I am going to look differently at people after reading this book, and wonder if he or she is another Rachel.
    This is the first time I've read a book by Dara Horn – but it certainly won't be the last!
  • Catherine O. (Altavista, VA)


    The Downside to Immortality
    Immortality is certainly not a new theme in literature, yet Dara Horn puts an interesting spin on the theme in Eternal Life. The main characters of Rachel and Elazar did not choose immortality because they wanted to live forever, but rather accepted immortality as the price paid for a bargain Rachel chose for them. The author holds your interest through believable modern and ancient problems and situations that the main characters face. As the person who chooses books for our local book club, I would choose Eternal Life for the lively discussion it would generate. I would recommend this unique, positive book to readers of all ages.
  • Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)


    Making Eternal Life worth it
    I loved this book. I've read most of Dara Horn's novels, and this one ranks near the top for me. To buy into the idea that somebody can trade their death in a vow to God, and thus live forever, you have to do some serious suspension of disbelief. But once you do that, the struggles that Rachel faces ring true. If you live forever, you have to repeatedly watch people you love die. And you have to leave people behind when they get too close to your secret. But every time she begins again, Rachel finds ways to make her life that doesn't end worth living. The lessons she learns could help us all.
  • Paula K. (Champaign, IL)


    Being Alive
    Having admired Dara Horn's previous books I looked forward eagerly to reading Eternal Life. And I was not disappointed. Far from it. In her telling of the story of a life lived for centuries Horn examines the very essence of a life. Is a life without the prospect of dying something to be wished? Is it a blessing or a curse, or something else? Rachel and Elazar traded normal life spans to save their infant son, and although their love for each other intersected throughout the ages, they also went their separate ways, each to marry and have children time and time again; each to lose loved ones time and time again; and each to be reborn again and again. This is a powerful book of Jewish history, of mysticism, of relationships, of love, of death, and of the meaning of life. Horn cements her place as one of our most thoughtful and brilliant contemporary writers with Eternal Life, a book that takes on as many shapes as life itself.
  • Jennifer B. (Oviedo, FL)


    Surprisingly lively
    I surprised myself by choosing to review Eternal Life. It is not a genre that particularly appeals to me for I prefer stories of reality. Nonetheless it was delightful to discover that the characters, time and place were so well constructed I did not mind the bit of fantastical science. Eternal Life is a story of humanity that became vivid as I read and found myself transported in the details of Rachel's life. Dara Horn is a newly found author for me, but one that I shall put on my list to read often. It will be a pleasure to recommend Eternal Life as a choice for my book club.
  • Esther L. (Newtown, PA)


    A Magical Story
    Thank you to BookBrowse for the opportunity to read and review Eternal Life. I loved the story and its main characters, the two thousand year old Rachel and her lover Elazar in Roman occupied Jerusalem. To save the life of their son they must vow before the High Priest to live an eternal life. Rachel smells the offering of her burning hair in the Temple and it is "a smell she would inhale again and again in the years to come,every time she burned herself alive" in order to be reborn. They both live many lives with numerous spouses and children and grandchildren, watching each generation age and die.

    The writing was lyrical and thought provoking. I highly recommend this book!
  • BeckyH


    Eternal Life -- Not all it is cracked up to be
    So – was this a good book? It asks so many questions and doesn’t give many answers. The clear take away is: Be careful what you ask for – you might get it!
    What would it be like to never die? To always return as an eighteen year old when one “life” is ended? What if this was punishment for sin? How many times can a person reinvent themselves and adapt to changing values, science, language, culture, etc, etc. Those are some of the questions this novel tries to answer. Rachel, a complex character born in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, lives in the pages of this book for centuries as does her co-sinner and lover. A basic knowledge of Bible history and a smattering of knowledge of the Jewish faith will help the reader grasp the nuances of the tale. When we meet Rachel in this current age, Rachel is desperate to die – permanently.
    The book is well written, the characters are strong and sympathetic, the situation – well – that is a problem. First, the God who loves people, and is the God Rachel knows, wouldn’t condemn a penitent to an eternal punishment. The premise the plot is based on is false. Second, the probability of one person finding another in ancient times, or even in modern times, is minimal. So Rachel and Elazar would be unlikely to keep meeting. However, the questions the book asks are important to ponder.
    So – suspend belief and enjoy the writing and the characters. It is fiction after all!
    4 of 5 stars
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