The Great Believers

by Rebecca Makkai

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780735223523
  • 9780735223547
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 

NEW YORK TIMES Selection for BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK 
A PICK FOR THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY'S 2018 BEST BOOKS
THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT FOR READERS

“A page turner...An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis. "—The New York Times Book Review

 
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 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.

  • Penguin Publishing Group; June 2018
  • ISBN: 9780735223547
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Great Believers
  • Author: Rebecca Makkai
  • Imprint: Penguin Books
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780735223523
  • 9780735223547

In The Press

“Stirring, spellbinding and full of life.” —Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife

"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. Rebecca 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

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 Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury

"In the remarkable The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai conjures up a time as startling as a dream and, in its extremity, achingly familiar to us now, close enough to hold. A tender, sly, immersive, irreverent, life force of a book."—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship

"The Great Believers kept me up reading late into the night, and I'd wake up thinking about Makkai's vibrant, complex, and deeply human characters. This is an immersive, heartbreaking novel—I loved it."—Maggie Shipstead, author of Astonish Me
 
“Rebecca Makkai's novel The Great Believers has stolen my heart. Crossing decades and lives, love and loss, art, and the long lasting legacy of AIDS, the novel is a brilliant triumph of empathy and intimacy between friends.”—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children

"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
 
The Great Believers is a sprawling, wildly ambitious novel. Rebecca Makkai brings to life a large cast of characters, and weaves together the threads of her storyline with the ease and authority of a skilled magician. But in the end, what makes this novel such a rousing success is the emotional truthfulness of her characters and the way she captures the panic and rage of the period. I came to feel I knew these people, and was moved by the dilemmas and difficult choices they had to face.”—Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life

"The Great Believers is a magnificent novel—well imagined, intricately plotted, and deeply felt, both humane and human. It unfurls like a peony: you keep thinking it can’t get any more perfect, and it does. A stunning feat."—Rabih Alameddine, author of The Angel of History and Koolaids: The Art of War


Praise for The Hundred-Year House

“[A] gleeful tale of ghosts, vengeance and family secrets…The darkly funny Makkai seeds the narrative with so many mysteries and surprises...that those 100 years race by.”
—People, “The Best New Books”
 
“A big-hearted gothic novel, an intergenerational mystery, a story of heartbreak and a romance, all crammed into one grand Midwestern estate….A juicy and moving story of art and love and the luck it takes for either to last.”
—Los Angeles Times
 
“An entertaining, ambitious saga ….Makkai’s lyrical prose quietly lifts off the page while her carefully crafted plot charges forward.”
—The Boston Globe
 
“A witty mystery set at a countryside estate….Makkai’s humorous, expertly orchestrated storytelling will surprise you.”
—Oprah.com, “6 Dazzling New Beach Reads”
 
“Makkai has written a novel that reads almost like early Muriel Spark — clever, competent, and concealing an unsettling and skewed reality….The hand that keeps giving the kaleidoscope another turn, controlling just how the pieces land, isn't fate, of course. It's the artist. Makkai is one.”
—Chicago Tribune
 
“As restless, and as sly, as the mythical Proteus, [Makkai] nimbly remakes her novel at every turn….It takes a special trick to remake the world without a reader noticing; it takes a tremendous talent to do it again and again.”
—NPR.org


About The Author

Rebecca Makkai is the author of The Borrower, The Hundred-Year House, which won the Novel of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association, and Music for Wartime. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Harper's, and Tin House, among others. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780735223523
  • 9780735223547