Eternal Life by Dara Horn

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 un...

Details Eternal Life

TitleEternal Life
Release DateJan 23rd, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Literature, Jewish, Adult

Reviews Eternal Life

  • Elyse
    2018-01-29 by Elizabeth Rogers! The narrator is excellent- and this book is extraordinary. Beautiful writing- totally fascinating. “The only way this will end is if I die”. Rachel Azaria can’t die. We take a two thousand year voyage with Rachel — she gives up her death in order to save her first son. Rachel made a vow to save her child in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem— and now that she has lived - FOR 2000 YEARS, she has buried t...
  • Erika Dreifus
    I wish I were in a book club specifically to talk about this book.
  • Mary
    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 ...
  • Ron Charles
    Rachel, the 2,000-year-old heroine of Dara Horn’s "Eternal Life," wants to know how to die. A terrible bargain to save her son back in ancient Jerusalem cursed her with a life that never ends. Now Rachel cannot stand “the absolute loneliness, the bottomless homesick loneliness of years upon years of lies, the deep cold void of a loneliness no mortal can imagine.” She has buried enough husbands and outlived enough children. In her current it...
  • Marika
    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 o...
  • Jaime
    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 ...
  • Sarah
    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 descen...
  • M.E. Tudor
    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 growin...
  • Kim McGee
    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 r...
  • Shannon Kirk
    (UPDATE 3/1): LOOK. YOU JUST NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. I continue to be obsessed with this perfect book. I've already purchased it for three people. I only purchase books for other people if the book IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. (UPDATE 2/27): Fuller review to come shortly, keeping mid-range review below. For now, I need to report that I’m having a full-on love affair with this book I’m so obsessed with it. Was going to lend it to a frie...
  • Dana
    Eternal Life, by Dara Horn, was one of the most interesting novels I have read in a long time. I do not normally choose to read books that include time travel, and I did not know this one would. Had I known, I would not have picked it up, but I am glad that I started to read it, and that I was instantly hooked. It is a quick paced story of Rachel, who was born more than 2000 years ago, the daughter of a Jewish scribe, who fell in love with Elezar...
  • Jill Meyer
    I think it would help the reader of Dara Horm's "Eternal Life" is they were both a biblical scholar and a lover of Magical Realism as a writing style. Horn's book basically covers over two thousand years in the life of Rachel, who simply, cannot die. She can be burned to cinders - and was many times - and she will return to life as an 18 year old, ready to begin yet another life as a wife and mother. She thinks she has had seventy or so life time...
  • Karen McQuestion
    I really enjoyed this book even though it wasn't quite what I anticipated. The transitions back and forth through time were seamlessly done, which is no small thing, and the writing was beautiful. I loved the way the author interwove cultural and historical details. My only small quibble was that the ending was not entirely satisfying to me as a reader, at least initially. But after giving it a lot of thought, I realized it was cleverly done and ...
  • Kate
    3.5. There were parts of this book I really enjoyed-including the concept. But somewhere along the way, it seemed to dwell on go into large parts (like Rocky's life) that didn't really seem to go with the theme. It seemed disjointed to me. I enjoyed the biblical history parts and the concept about doing anything for your children and also how dying really does make life worth living.
  • Jackie Keller
    At first I was put off by the way the story is told - you have to infer and then later chapters reveal the blanks. But by the end I loved it. Tells a big picture story in a small and personal way. ❤ At first I was put off by the way the story is told - you have to infer and then later chapters reveal the blanks. But by the end I loved it. Tells a big picture story in a small and personal way. ❤️
  • G
    Dara Horn may be one of my new favorite authors. I loved this book because the story is just so unusual and original! The entire concept of Rachel's life, and that of her former lover, astounded me. Horn's creativity knows no bounds. All the elements of family, sacrifice, and love, which appear in books ALL the time, suddenly felt new again. I'm not sure how the author accomplished that, but I think it has to do with how well she wrote the charac...
  • Chaitra
    More like 2.5 stars. I read some of this book in February, and read the rest after a long gap, but it's not really why I didn't like the book. My problem is pretty much the same one I have when I read any other book which has a centuries old protagonist, they seem about as old mentally as whatever they appear to be.Rachel here, exchanged her mortality so she could save her dying son in ancient Jerusalem. So did her son's father, who was not her h...
  • Cait
    This was a really beautiful story. It was quite a fast read as well, which was actually disappointing when I realised how close I was to the end.
  • Elaine
    Eternal Life had such a fascinating premise; a young woman named Rachel makes an eternal bond with her baby daddy, Elazar, to save their only son by forfeiting their deaths so their child may live. As a result, Rachel and Elazar can never die.Great idea, right?I was expecting, I don't know; old world magic, immortality, recaps of the amazing and adventurous lives Rachel has lived to tell.But that wasn't it at all. ** Spoilers ahead ** When we me...
  • Melissa
    Exceptional! What a novel-- I devoured it and thought about it when I wasn't reading it, the sign of an exceptional 5 star read for me! I was privileged to hear Dara speak about this book earlier this week. Someone asked how the idea of writing this novel came to her. She explained that she often leyns (chants) the Torah and was thinking about the parasha (section) she would later chant aloud, which focused on the generations of the patriarchs. S...
  • Erin
    If you and your lover were cursed to never be able to die, how would you spend your eternity? Hopefully more wisely and reflectively than the narrator, Rachel. After living thousands of years, loving a procession of husbands and raising dozens of families, she is still obnoxiously as immature as the 18 year old who made the life for death bargain in the first place. She is forever gasping in surprise, and having the world fall out from beneath he...
  • Janet Slipak
    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 un...
  • Barbara
    Author Dara Horn’s latest work, “Eternal Life” considers what it would be like if you could never die. What would life after life after life be like? Protagonist Rachel made a deal with a high priest (what we would consider a deal with the devil) that if her sick son doesn’t die, she would give up her death for eternity. Rachel is 18 years old and this happened 2000 years prior to the twenty-first century. Even the high priest warned her ...
  • Spencer Miller
    “You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.” - Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting Most of us have dallied with the idea of either living an abnormally long life or living forever. We think of all the positive memories and experiences that we would hypothetically have. But we oftentimes don't consider the negative flip side. How long would it take before we...
  • Kim
    This incredibly unique book tells the story of Rachel, who cannot die. Born 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, she gave up her own death to save the life of her child. This vow was made in the Second Temple, overseen by biblical priests and honored with animal sacrifices, in a world that has long since ceased to exist. Over the centuries that follow, Rachel's many iterations marry, bear children, raise families, run businesses and eventually "die." Ho...
  • Sophia Jones
    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 des...
  • Cathy
    I sat in the same spot for many hours straight to read this book. It was absolutely riveting. The premise is that the book’s main character, Rachel, cannot die. She has lived for thousands of years, had hundreds of families, and has outlived them all. If this seems like a simple plot, it is. However, the author really goes into the nuances of what an eternal life would look like, including the wearying sameness of human choices (wars, genocide,...
  • Gina Baratono
    Pity poor Rachel, for she can never die. 2,000 years ago, she made a pact with a Jewish priest to save the life of her infant son, a pact that she regrets. The book doesn't go through a lot of detail about how this is achieved, but it indicates it was at the time of the AD/BC time change. Throughout all of her lives, she is stalked by one man who proclaims he loves her. Elazar is her lover from the first life, the father of her baby, and her pare...
  • Pascale
    Weird but pleasantly so. What's weird is not so much the fact that the central characters, Rachel and her lover Eleazar, are 2,000 years old, but the fact that Horn mixes 2 very different genres: a historical romance and science-fiction. The story cuts back and forth between the original Rachel, who forfeited her own death in order to save her desperately sick first born Yochanan, and her reincarnation in our own times. In this iteration, Rachel ...
  • Shellie Taylor
    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 m...