The Great Believers

The Great Believers

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"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 Makkai In 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 intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster"-- Provided by publisher.
ISBN: 9780735223530
Branch Call Number: BOOK CLUB BAG Makkai / Great
Characteristics: Original contents: 10 regular print books, 1 large print, 1 reader's guide and 1 bag


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Aug 07, 2019

A beautiful story of a community of friends in 1980's Chicago ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. Yale Tishman is one of the most humane, relatable and realistically flawed characters I have come across lately. I particularly appreciated being able to access this tragic epidemic through this incredibly empathetic work of fiction.

Jun 13, 2019

Very good.

May 20, 2019

I really enjoyed this book a lot. It's not perfect and it does run parallel stories where one is way more interesting than the other and the characters are not all likeable. Such is life, though and for that reason I give it 5 solid stars. It's a novel. It's flawed. So are the people we know and love. Great job.

May 07, 2019


Mar 15, 2019

NYT 10 Best 2018

Hillsboro_EmilyS Mar 11, 2019

I never imagined that a novel about a tragic epidemic and art history would be such a page-turner, yet I simply could not put this haunting novel down!

Feb 20, 2019

I got less than two chapters in and had to move on to something else. Not at all for me.. Maybe I gave up to soon

Dec 26, 2018

I feel as if I should've liked this more than I did. It's long and I read all of it, but somehow I didn't feel connected to any of these characters - they were more like sketches to me than something fully fledged and maybe that was purposeful given the focus on art as the medium that (sort of) drives the story forward. I remember the time period and the losses viscerally and this didn't touch on that feeling very much - it was somehow too detached for feelings to come through. Having said all of that, I liked the craft of the book and the writing is good. Maybe nothing written about this time period can truly be satisfying after you lived through it.

Nov 30, 2018

NYT Best 10 Books

SnoIsleLib_LindseyA Nov 02, 2018

This book gutted me. It's an ode to love and art and found family set during two periods: 1980s Chicago and present-day Paris. The story of Yale and his close group of friends during the apex of the AIDS epidemic is powerful and heartbreaking.

I had to knock off a star for the contemporary chapters interspersed between the 1980s chapters. It was interesting to see the long-term impact of AIDS on the survivors, but I couldn't bring myself to care as much about Fiona's search for her estranged daughter.

Being from the Chicago area, I was pretty tickled by all the references.

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