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Folger Book Club: Immortal Longings

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, our April selection is a fiery collision of power plays, spilled blood, and romance amidst a set of deadly games.

Booking and details

Dates Thu, Apr 4, 2024, 6:30pm

Venue Folger Virtual

Tickets Free, Registration required

Duration 6:30pm - 8:00pm (ET)

Registration opens for this session on Tuesday, March 12 at 4pm (ET), with early access for Folger Members beginning at 10am (ET).

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Our April 2024 Pick

Immortal Longings
by Chloe Gong

#1 New York Times bestselling YA author Chloe Gong’s adult epic fantasy debut, inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, is a fiery collision of power plays, spilled blood, and romance amidst a set of deadly games.

Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin will flock to its capital twin cities, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. For those confident enough in their ability to jump between bodies, competitors across San-Er fight to the death to win unimaginable riches.

Princess Calla Tuoleimi lurks in hiding. Five years ago, a massacre killed her parents and left the palace of Er empty…and she was the one who did it. Before King Kasa’s forces in San can catch her, she plans to finish the job and bring down the monarchy. Her reclusive uncle always greets the victor of the games, so if she wins, she gets her opportunity at last to kill him.

Enter Anton Makusa, an exiled aristocrat. His childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace, and he’s deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Thankfully, he’s one of the best jumpers in the kingdom, flitting from body to body at will. His last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning.

Calla finds both an unexpected alliance with Anton and help from King Kasa’s adopted son, August, who wants to mend Talin’s ills. But the three of them have very different goals, even as Calla and Anton’s partnership spirals into something all-consuming. Before the games close, Calla must decide what she’s playing for—her lover or her kingdom.

Why did we choose this?

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection explores not only Shakespeare’s life and works, but also the plays’ historical context, source material, critical and performance histories, and the ways in which they inspire and are adapted by contemporary novelists.

Author of the hugely popular These Violent Delights, a YA retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai, Chloe Gong turns her attention to Antony and Cleopatra for her first foray into adult fiction.

About the Book Club

Our informal Book Club is free and open to all. Our picks range from historical fiction to adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, encompassing a wide variety of genres—all sourced from a different local, independent bookstore partner each month.

Each session begins with a guest speaker exploring that month’s pick and highlighting items from the Folger collection related to the plot and themes of the novel. After the presentation, participants will be broken into smaller groups for breakout discussions, moderated by a team of staff and volunteers.

Guest Speaker

Mira ‘Assaf Kafantaris

Mira ‘Assaf Kafantaris

Content transparency

Immortal Longings includes potentially sensitive subjects. Expand below for a full list of content.

Capitol Hill Books

We would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support of this program

Capitol Hill Community Foundation
Junior League of Washington