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.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||432 pages|
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