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Eternal Life

A Novel

Dara Horn (Author)

Overview | Formats

A New York Times Notable Book of 2018

What would it really mean to live forever?

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.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • January 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-60853-3
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 256 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverEternal Life: A Novel


Endorsements & Reviews

“The question at the heart of this wise and appealing novel is finally not how Rachel finds meaning in her eternal life. It is how we, despite our portions of sorrow, tedium and disaster, persist in finding meaning in ours.” — Joshua Max Feldman, New York Times Book Review

“I have been in love with Horn’s work since her first gorgeous novel, In the Image . . . [This book] simmers with Horn’s signature blend of tragedy and spirituality.” — Ron Charles, Washington Post

“Rachel speaks with the wisdom of the ancients when she observes that immortality offers no consolation for the death of others. ‘Not dying doesn’t make it better,” she says of all that sorrow. ‘It only makes it take longer.’” — Sam Sachs, Wall Street Journal

“To an extent, it’s the humor (and horror) of infinite diaper changes that drives this masterful page-turner. However, Eternal Life is at its core a serious meditation on the meaning of life and purpose of death.”” — Renee Ghert-Zand, Times of Israel

“As a philosophical novel, Eternal Life asks the most fundamental of questions: What makes life meaningful? Is its traditional arc, from birth through family formation to death, necessary? Is it a blessing that we insufficiently appreciate?” — Julia M. Klein, The Forward

“Horn does not hedge her bets, whipping up a Jewish telenovela of ancient-world drama and present-day complications. It’ll put you off immortality for good.” — Marion Winik, Newsday

“Most of us have had days where we question if existence is worth it; some of us have experienced an old flame that just won’t go out. In this hilarious and haunting story, Rachel, a mere 2,000 years old, has experienced both.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“The chilling pathos of Dara Horn’s Eternal Life is bound to turn every mortal reader into a philosopher of cosmic joy.” — Cynthia Ozick, author of Foreign Bodies

Eternal Life takes the psychological novel to places I’ve never seen before…Riveting, startling, hilarious, and sad—I’ve never read anything like it.” — Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot

“In Eternal Life, the familiar account of the joys and sorrows of motherhood turns strange and mythical. Wisdom literature is a rare thing, and even rarer when it arrives, as it does here, in a story so passionate and playful.” — Joshua Ferris, author of The Dinner Party

“An elegant musing on sacredness, history, and purpose that is, at the same time, a deliciously romantic, highly suspenseful page-turner.” — Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord

Also by Dara Horn All

  1. Book CoverAll Other Nights: A Novel


  2. Book CoverA Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel


  3. Book CoverIn the Image: A Novel