Read The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai Online

The Great Believers

A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, by the acclaimed and award-winning author Rebecca MakkaiIn 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in 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, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon 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 crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwini...

Title : The Great Believers
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ISBN : 9780735223523
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 421 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Great Believers Reviews

  • Roman Clodia

    There’s an important story here (at least in the 1985 strand) as AIDS cuts through the Chicago gay community – but something about Makkai’s style left me feeling mostly disengaged from it in emotional terms. Sure, I had moments of anger as we witness a dead man’s parents exclude his lover from the funeral, the horrible voyeurism that makes a thing of a man being gay, black, whatever. But overall I was never able to get involved or attached to what is going on.

    Add to the style a baggy structure t

  • Stephen Kiernan

    One of my favorite novels of the year.

    This book chronicles the arrival of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago in the early 80s. But don't let that scare you away. It is packed with humor (something funny on nearly every page), there are great characters and a wry sensibility from start to finish, and about a third of the book is actually set in present day, when a woman who was deep in AIDS activism is searching for her runaway daughter.

    Yes, there is sadness -- but this book has zero melodrama and to

  • Rebecca

    I read the first 50 pages for a potential BookBrowse review, skimmed up to p. 172 and also skimmed the last few chapters. There’s a near-contemporary story line that’s not very compelling; while I enjoyed the 1980s strand, there are a lot of secondary characters we don’t get to know very well, plus the details of Yale’s art deal slow down the narrative. I really wanted to appreciate the book because I loved Makkai’s two previous novels so much, but I’m not feeling the impetus to continue.


  • Dan Friedman

    Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a heart-breaking fictionalization of the burgeoning AIDS epidemic in Chicago. Makkai reminds us of those especially mystifying and terrifying early days before AIDS was AIDS: "She might not have remembered Jonathan Bird, except that he was the very first to die. So early that he didn't die of AIDS, because there was no such acronym; he died of GRID. The G stood for gay, and she'd blocked out the rest." The Great Believers is set mostly in the mid-1980s whe ...more

  • Paula Bardell-Hedley

    “They were walking every day through streets where there had been a holocaust, a mass murder of neglect and antipathy.”
    I remember vividly that bleak period in the early 1980s when a spectrum of bizarre but fatal conditions started afflicting gay men. The tabloids were in their element, describing the mystery illnesses as a 'Gay Plague' while rallying their readers to demand all homosexuals be deported somewhere remote, away from 'decent people'. As religious leaders proclaimed the outbreak was ...more

  • Robin Black

    I was lucky enough to see a pre-publication edition of this book. It's an absolute home run -with Makkai's characteristic insight and transporting prose. And of course this is a subject that is due for just this kind of in depth, compassionate treatment. I highly recommend.

  • Larry H

    I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, rounding up.

    At the start of The Great Believers , Rebecca Makkai's beautifully poignant yet meandering new novel, it is 1985, and Yale Tishman and his partner, Charlie, are preparing for the memorial service for Nico, a friend who has recently died of AIDS.

    The gay community in Chicago where they live has been devastated by this recently discovered disease, as have gay communities across the country. The sense of loss they feel is just beginning to hit them, as they

  • Mandy

    This is a fictional book based on the AIDS epidemic in Chicago in the 80s/90s. I won this off of a Good Reads give-a-way.

    This is a beautiful and sorrowful book of love, family, and friendship. We see this story through two narratives, one during the 80s/90s and one more current. There is some criticism about the more current story line, but I enjoyed both. I think that they fit well together in ways and we see things from different points of view.

    I got through this book quickly and wanted to j