Book tip: "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai

Book tip

The Great Believers

Rebecca Makkai

“The Great Believers” can feel sweeping and epic, as it shifts between two stories about human connection, loss and death — one set in 1985 Chicago, as the just-starting AIDS epidemic is attacking gay men, and the other in 2015 Paris, where a mother is searching for her adult daughter, who disappeared after joining what appeared to be a cult. Really, though, what gives this tome its force is how author Makkai creates complex individual characters we want to follow. Yale is a gallery development director, a young gay man who is dealing with his friends dying from AIDS. Fiona — pictured as a carefree young thing who loses her brother to AIDS in the 1980s section of the book — returns as a 50-something parent desperate to find her estranged daughter. “The Great Believers” was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction, and, if you read it, you’ll understand why.

 

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