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The Great Believers

Rebecca Makkai

$32.99

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Little Brown
12 June 2018
Fiction & Literature; Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945); Family & relationships
In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup: bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, he finds his partner is infected, and that he might even have the virus himself. The only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona's stories unfold in incredibly moving and sometimes surprising ways, as both struggle to find goodness in the face of disaster.
By:   Rebecca Makkai
Imprint:   Little Brown
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 157mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   558g
ISBN:   9780708899113
ISBN 10:   0708899110
Pages:   432
Publication Date:   12 June 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Rebecca Makkai is the author of two novels and a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Fantasy, Harper's, Tin House, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review and New England Review, among others. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Reviews for The Great Believers

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 * The Great Believers is by turns funny, harrowing, tender, devastating, and always hugely suspenseful -- Margot Livesey 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 * 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 * 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 * Sure to become a classic Chicago novel . . . a deft, harrowing novel that's as beautiful as its cover * Chicago Review of Books * 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 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 Well imagined, intricately plotted, and deeply felt, both humane and human -- Rabih Alameddine, author of The Angel of History and An Unnecessary Woman 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 * 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 Stirring, spellbinding and full of life -- Tea Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger's Wife


  • Long-listed for Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2019 (UK)
  • Short-listed for American National Book Award for Fiction 2018 (UK)

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