The Elixir of Immortality

Gleichmann, Gabi: Udødelighetens elixir

Nominated to the Booksellers' Prize 2012
Ari Spinoza is the last of the great Spinoza family. On his mother’s deathbed he promises to write his family story, to save it from oblivion. The main source to his writing is the memories of all the stories his grand uncle Fernando told him and his twin brother Sasha when they were kids. Another source is a secret book, The Elixir of Immortality, containing the recipe for eternal life, which has been guarded by the family for centuries.
The story Ari writes starts out in 1140 in Lisbon and follows the family´s odyssey through Europe up till 1999 when the final chapter is written in Oslo. One of the characteristics handed down in the family is an exceedingly large nose. Those born with it are successful, but die a tragic death. And they are often at the centre of, and important contributors to great events in the history of Europe.
Apart from Ari Spinoza, there are two main characters in this grand epic novel: the Spinoza family and Europa´s history, here woven together in a knowledgeable, tragic, moving, and wonderful history.

First published: 2012

From the Reviews:

"The Elixir of Immortality is a horn of plenty filled with wonderful stories, thought-provoking points and concise atmospheric depictions from remote latitudes and bygone times, each and every one written in a light and unaffected manner. If book-club editors were alchemists, then this would have been their ‘philosophers’ stone’." DAGENS NÆRINGSLIV

"However, despite the fact that I was continually inspired to check information and historical sources throughout the 650-page-long book, nevertheless the great strength of the book does not lie in the facts. It lies instead in the universal stories that tell a great deal about Europe, but even more about human nature." DAGBLADET

"Gabi Gleichmann is a classical writer, and as a novelist he is the same classical author, in magical realistic guise: the world is a chaotic place it is difficult to interpret, and the task of the classical writer is precisely to decipher chaos, clarify connections and write about what has taken place.

The classical writer does not extol the virtues of chaos, but instead discovers sense, reason, irrationality, logic and emotions, and distinguishes one from the other. Therefore it is not just any values and attitudes that gain ground in this novel, but those Gleichmann considers suitable for people and their codes of behaviour. This is not something he preaches about. Instead he dramatises it." Aftenposten


Click here to read the synopsis of the novel.

Click here to read the English sample translation.

Full English translation is available on request

Rights sold to

Language Foreign publisher
American English Other Press
British English Other Press
Chinese (simplified) Beijing Phoenix-Power Cultural Development Co., Ltd
Danish Lindhardt & Ringhof
Dutch De Geus
French Grasset
German Carl Hanser Verlag
Hebrew Keter
Hungarian Athenaeum Kiado
Italian Bompiani
Lithuanian Gimtasis Zodis
Portuguese Bertrand
Serbian Sezam Books
Slovene Založba Goga
Spanish Anagrama
Swedish Tenenbaum

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