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True Believers: A Novel by Kurt Andersen
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True Believers: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Kurt Andersen

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1593375,058 (3.35)20
Member:Cavalier80
Title:True Believers: A Novel
Authors:Kurt Andersen
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Collections:Books I've Read, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction

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True Believers by Kurt Andersen (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I'm not sure if I was hoarding this or if I had an intuition .....but although I very much enjoyed two previous novels of Andersen's, Turn of the Century and Heyday, this one fell flat for me, I won't go into detail, but I suspect Andersen's true agenda was to stuff every possible detail from the sixties into one book, to come up with a shocking plot to demonstrate how a person can be very stupid when young, and that even over sixty a person can still be cool. Granny, Dean at Stanford Law School after an illustrious law career gets short-listed for the Supreme Court - turns it down because....... well..... she has secrets and she decides to 'out' herself. She's so cool she rides a bus down to the Occupy rally in Miami with her granddaughter to be the 'chaperone'. But really, it's not about her, she is just the vehicle for the agenda and it kind of implodes on itself and becomes tedious. It's a 'list' book, I could list everything Andersen wanted to cram in here, from Bond-mania to living with diabetes 1. It's just too much, and I didn't buy it and I didn't care. That said, as always, make up your own mind. Andersen is smart and he can write and there are some delicious moments, he is keenly observant and thoughtful although I don't agree that because of television we all 'share' the same memories, unlike our pre-tv forebears.... that's just romanticizing. My favorite observation was Andersen just musing, not being hip: "Living with other people, especially people I love or wish I could love, is like having music on in the background, several different songs at once, all the time." More like that, please. ***1/2 ( )
  sibyx | Apr 4, 2014 |
Apparently I missed something with this book cause I could barley make it a 1/4 of the way thru before I gave up. Might give it a second try at a later date.
3/10/14 second attempt.... same results. Not for me. ( )
  ginger72 | Mar 26, 2014 |
The blurb on the dustjacket reads like this is a pulse-pounding action tale but it's really closer to a historical novel set in the late 1960s, with a framing story we return to in alternating chapters. At one point or another I've felt annoyed with each one of the main characters, but by the time everything is through the author manages to generate enough sympathy for the viewpoints of each one, I think. The big secret that is at the center of the story isn't to me so much a letdown as an unfortunate episode brought about by the obsessions of each of the characters at the center of it. The narrator of the story is just beginning to understand how it all really happened and what led to all the subsequent years of anxiety about it.

I used to go to school not far from the North Shore setting of the earliest events in the story, a decade after the time in question, but can only dimly see the outlines of those places in my own experience. Likewise with the Cambridge scenes just afterwards. The most vivid bits of scene-setting however were the ones from the present day, which is part of the reason I kind of liked them. Maybe a real James Bond fan would have had more of a good time with the scenes revolving around the three friends' self-assigned "missions" instead.

I'll admit to being a little confused about the allusions to the Boca Raton incident in the first part of the book. It's all made up, right? ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
This is a story about coming of age in the 60s and reflecting upon it in the present day. Karen Hollander is an attorney in her 60s who has declined nomination for the Supreme Court because of a deep, dark secret she has hidden in her past. At the same time, she has decided to write a book, a memoir, and expose everything she and her comrades did in 1968 that has been haunting her ever since.

Kurt Anderson is a master at building suspense in each chapter, captivating the reading by alluding to the secrets of the past and then doling it out slowly throughout the book as Karen recounts her childhood and young adult life. This novel is about the roles we take on in life and how the consequences of our decisions affect us and those we love.

This novel is great choice for book clubs, classrooms and for anyone who enjoys an intelligent, thought-provoking story. ( )
  goode2shews | Sep 12, 2013 |


It was just ok. It took way too long to get to a simple point, and I thought that the central crisis of the book was sort of hokey. They were stupid - incredibly so. But I thought Karen's calculated virtuous streak was, if anything, disgusting. She knew she would not be prosecuted for it. She knew there would be no point to it other than her own necessity to know what happened. She did that, but she had no real reason to write the book. Will she write another memoir about the fact that this possible book caused one member of their team to suicide in a gruesome fashion? I did not like the way that was swept under the carpet. This just makes the central character unrelatable and unsympathetic. ( )
  Chaitra.Ganesh | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968, an episode she's managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she's about to let the world in on that shocking secret, as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.… (more)

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