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The Great Believers Paperback – Large Print, 31 July 2019

4.5 out of 5 stars 2,258 ratings

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Review

"Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers is a page turner... among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present--among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic's early years as well as its course and repercussions...An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it's like to live during times of crisis."--The New York Times Book Review

"Makkai knits themes of loss, betrayal, friendship and survival into a powerful story of people struggling to keep their humanity in dire circumstances."--People Magazine

"Cultural revolutions of the past painfully reverberate in Rebecca Makkai's deft third novel, The Great Believers, which captures both the devastation of the AIDS crisis in 1980s Chicago and the emotional aftershocks of those losses."--Vogue

"A striking, emotional journey... 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 (starred review)

"Tearjerker... The Great Believers asks big questions about redemption, tragedy, and connection. Makkai has written her most ambitious novel yet."--Entertainment Weekly

"The Great Believers soars...magnificent...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 despite all the loss it encompasses."--Chicago Tribune

"Beautiful, tender, harrowing... [The Great Believers] is a vivid, passionate, heart-wrenching story."--Wall Street Journal

"Compulsively readable...a relentless engine mowing back and forth across decades, zooming in on subtlest physical and emotional nuances of dozens of characters, missing no chance to remind us what's at stake."--San Francisco Chronicle

"At turns heartbreaking and hopeful, the novel brings the first years of the AIDS epidemic into very immediate view, in a manner that will seem nostalgic to some and revelatory to others...Makkai's sweeping fourth novel shows the compassion of chosen families and the tension and distance that can exist in our birth ones."--Library Journal

"Sure to become a classic Chicago novel...a deft, harrowing novel that's as beautiful as its cover." --Chicago Review of Books

"The latest novel from the stunningly versatile Makkai...Focused on a group of friends, lovers, and family outcasts, the book highlights the way tragic illness shifts the courses of people's lives--and how its touch forever lingers on those left behind."--Harper's Bazaar

"A devastating contemplation of love and loss...evokes the epidemic's horrors, yes, but also the profound acts of generosity it sparked."--Oprah.com, "O's Top Books of Summer"

"Deeply moving...Makkai does an excellent job of capturing the jaded, ironic and affectionately jibing small talk of a group of cultured gay friends in the Reagan era...[Captures] a group of friends in a particular time and place with humor and compassion. Conversations among her gay male characters feel very real -- not too flamboyant, not too serious, always morbidly witty. It's hard not to get drawn into this circle of promising young men as they face their brutally premature extinction."--Newsday

"Two distinct narratives intertwine ingeniously...The stories meet up to heartbreaking effect."--New York Magazine

"A poignant, historical journey through a virus's outbreak and legacy."--Conde Nast Traveler

"Rebecca Makkai's beautiful (literally--look at that cover!) novel takes us to an art gallery in Chicago at the height of the AIDS crisis. From Chicago to Paris, THE GREAT BELIEVERS is a sweeping story of multi-generational trauma and the solitude that the AIDS epidemic created, as an entire generation was decimated by the virus."--Fodor's Travel

"With its broad time span and bedrock of ferocious, loving friendships, [The Great Believers] might remind readers of Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life...though it is, overall, far brighter than that novel. As her intimately portrayed characters wrestle with painful pasts and fight to love one another and find joy in the present in spite of what is to come, Makkai carefully reconstructs 1980s Chicago, WWI-era and present day Paris, and scenes of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. A tribute to the enduring forces of love and art, over everything."--Booklist (starred review)

"To believe in something is to have faith, and Makkai dispenses it fiercely, in defiance of understandable nihilism and despair--faith in what's right, in the good in others, in better outcomes, in time's ability not to heal but to make something new."--National Book Review

"Another ambitious change of pace for the versatile and accomplished [Rebecca] Makkai... her 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 Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

Rebecca Makkai is the author of The Borrower, The Hundred-Year House, which won the Novel of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association, and Music for Wartime. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Harper's, and Tin House, among others. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Large Print Press; Large type / Large print edition (31 July 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 750 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1432869639
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1432869632
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.72 x 3.81 x 21.59 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,258 ratings

About the author

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Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the story collection MUSIC FOR WARTIME (2015) as well as the novels THE HUNDRED-YEAR HOUSE (2014) and THE BORROWER (2011). Her work was chosen for The Best American Short Stories in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and appears regularly in publications such as Harper's, Tin House, Ploughshares, New England Review and Ecotone, and on public radio's This American Life and Selected Shorts. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca has taught year at Northwestern University, the Tin House Writers' Conference, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her website is www.rebeccamakkai.com.

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Top reviews from Australia

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Top reviews from other countries

Amazonian Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and engrossing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 November 2019
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Editor Plus
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing book, and very haunting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 January 2019
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Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A good look at the aids crisis in the 80s
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 October 2019
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Aftiti
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 November 2020
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Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and affecting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 September 2020
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