The Great Believers
Shortlisted for the National Book Award, Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a necessary story about the AIDS epidemic. From two different perspectives separated by thirty years, Makkai examines the immediate devastation of the epidemic as well as the long-lasting impact this period of history had on the survivors. In 1980s Chicago, Yale Tishman observes his circle of friends dwindle as AIDS takes the life of one after another. When Yale needs his friends the most, he discovers that the only one left is Fiona, the sister of one of Yale’s deceased friends. In 2015, Fiona is in Paris searching for her daughter, who years before was drawn into a cult and disappeared; during her search, Fiona is staying with an old friend, famous for his photography, whose upcoming gallery chronicles the epidemic in Chicago.
The Great Believers pulses with grief and serves as a touching reminder of the magnitude of what was lost during this traumatic time. With extreme empathy and unwavering truthfulness, Makkai writes with the kind of searing precision that wounds the heart. Yet, despite the heartache, this story also sings of enduring love and the promise of hope. Makkai oscillates between past and present to great effect; the loosely related plotlines come together perfectly in the end. The Great Believers is essential reading for anyone who wants to explore what it’s like to live through a crisis.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||432 pages|
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