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The Great Believers Paperback – 12 June 2018
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Makkai has created a moving story about Chicago and Paris, the past and present, the young men lost to AIDS and the ones who survived. And just as her novel evokes art's power to commemorate the departed, The Great Believers is itself a poignant work of memoir (Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Sympathizer)
This expansive, huge-hearted novel conveys the scale of the trauma that was the early AIDS crisis, and conveys, too, the scale of the anger and love that rose up to meet it. Makkai shows us characters who are devastated but not defeated, who remain devoted, in the face of death, to friendship and desire and joyful, irrepressible life. I loved this book (Garth Greenwell author of What Belongs to You)
Time is a healer and a heartbreaker in Makkai's brilliant and beautiful novel. The Great Believers kept me hoping and guessing, heart in hand, until the very last page (Carol Rifka Brunt, author of Tell the Wolves I'm Home)
an antidote to our general urge to forget what we'd rather not remember, but it's also - which is more important - an absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it's like to live during times of crisis (Michael Cunningham New York Times)
Stirring, spellbinding and full of life (Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife)
The Great Believers is by turns funny, harrowing, tender, devastating, and always hugely suspenseful. It reminds us, poignantly, of how many people, mostly young, often brilliant, were lost to the AIDS epidemic, and of how those who survived were marked by that struggle. This is Rebecca Makkai at the height of her powers (Margot Livesy, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury)
Well imagined, intricately plotted, and deeply felt, both humane and human (Rabih Alameddine, author of The Angel of History and An Unnecessary Woman)
Sure to become a classic Chicago novel . . . a deft, harrowing novel that's as beautiful as its cover (Chicago Review of Books)
Magnificent . . . it doesn't set a foot wrong . . . Makkai has full command of her multi-generational perspective, and by its end, The Great Believers offers a grand fusion of the past and the present, the public and the personal. It's remarkably alive (Chicago Tribune)
The Great Believers is beautiful and compelling (Running in Heels)
Spookily relevant in the age of Trump. Makkai has created a gorgeous and compassionate narrative, one which asks how we can move forward from disaster (Rumpus)
A sprawling, heart-wrenching novel (Refinery29)
Makkai handles her material with humour and sensitivity, ensuring that we truly care when the tentacles of Aids
begin to engulf Yale, Fiona and their friends. At its heart too it is a devastating secret . . . As a novel of the Aids crisis The Great Believers is a powerful, beautifully handled addition to the canon. As an exploration of the cost of living with guilt, grief and the terrible power of even a little hope, it is magnificent
Makkai creates a powerful, unforgettable meditation, not on death, but rather on the power and gift of life. This novel will undoubtedly touch the hearts and minds of readers (Publishers Weekly)
Makkai's rich portraits of an array of big personalities and her affecting depiction of random, horrific death faced with varying degrees of gallantry make this tender, keening novel an impressive act of imaginative empathy. As compulsively readable as it is thoughtful and moving: an unbeatable fictional combination (Kirkus)
- Publisher : Fleet; 1st edition (12 June 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0708899110
- ISBN-13 : 978-0708899113
- Dimensions : 15.7 x 3.1 x 23.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 254,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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It did seem a bit long winded in parts- especially since I’m not interested in art, but once I got about half way through I couldn’t stop reading and then it broke my heart.
Top reviews from other countries
The second strand follows Fiona, 30 years later trying to track down her estranged daughter Claire. Fiona's brother Nico was one of the first of Yale's friends to die from AIDS. Watching so many of her friends suffer and die has left Fiona with emotional scars and contributed to the breakdown of her relationship with Claire.
The two strands twine together and tie up beautifully in the final chapter. It's an absorbing, often sad, but also frequently joyful read.
I felt the start of the book was stronger than the end and I personally wanted to know more about Claire, as I found it hard to care about her as she came across unlikable after growing to care for Fiona so much.