Book tip: "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers
“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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