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Rebecca Makkai

Author of The Great Believers

12+ Works 5,493 Members 368 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Rebecca Makkai is an author, based in the Chicago area. She holds as MA from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English and a BA from Washington and Lee University. She was an elementary Montessori teacher for twelve years before becoming a writer. She is on the MFA faculties of Sierra show more Nevada College and Northwestern University. And she is the Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago. She has had her short fiction published in such anthologies as The Pushcart Prize XLI, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, New Stories from the Midwest, and Best American Fantasy. She has a short story collection entitled Music for Wartime. She won the 2017 Pushcart prize for short fiction. Her first novel was entitled The Borrower. Her other novels include The Hundred-Year House and The Great Believers. She won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for fiction with her novel, The Great Believers. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: © Ryan Fowler

Works by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers (2018) 2,044 copies, 111 reviews
The Borrower (2011) 1,311 copies, 132 reviews
I Have Some Questions For You (2023) 1,301 copies, 69 reviews
The Hundred-Year House (2014) 640 copies, 45 reviews
Music for Wartime: Stories (2015) 188 copies, 11 reviews
Boystown (2023) 2 copies
Between the Covers: A Bookstore Erotica Anthology (2018) — Contributor — 1 copy
No title 1 copy

Associated Works

The Best American Short Stories 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 577 copies, 8 reviews
The Best American Short Stories 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 413 copies, 6 reviews
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 368 copies, 9 reviews
The Best American Short Stories 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 363 copies, 11 reviews
The Best American Short Stories 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 350 copies, 7 reviews
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 (2016) — Contributor — 109 copies
Anonymous Sex (2022) — Contributor — 69 copies, 5 reviews
Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy 3 (2010) — Contributor — 55 copies, 1 review
The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers (2018) — Contributor — 23 copies, 1 review


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Common Knowledge

Skokie, Illinois, USA
Places of residence
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Washington and Lee University (BA)
Middlebury College (Bread Loaf School of English)
Short biography
Rebecca Makkai (born April 20, 1978) is an American novelist and short-story writer. Her first novel, The Borrower, was released in June 2011. It was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago Magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. It was translated into seven languages. Her short stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and as well as in ″The Best American Nonrequired Reading″" 2009 and 2016; she received a 2017 Pushcart Prize and a 2014 NEA fellowship. Her fiction has also appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, The Threepenny Review, New England Review, and Shenandoah. Her nonfiction has appeared in Harpers and on Salon.com and the New Yorker website. Makkai's stories have also been featured on Public Radio International's Selected Shorts and This American Life. Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is set in the Northern suburbs of Chicago, and was published by Viking/Penguin in July 2014, having received starred reviews in Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. It won the 2015 Novel of the Year award from the Chicago Writers Association and was named a best book of 2014 by BookPage. Her short story collection, Music for Wartime, was published by Viking in June 2015. A starred and featured review in Publishers Weekly said, "Though these stories alternate in time between WWII and the present day, they all are set, as described in the story “Exposition,” within “the borders of the human heart”—a terrain that their author maps uncommonly well.” The Kansas City Star wrote that "if any short story writer can be considered a rock star of the genre, it's Rebecca Makkai."

Her novel about the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Chicago, titled The Great Believers was published by Viking/Penguin Random House in June 2018. The Great Believers won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, and won the LA Times Book Prize, the ALA Stonewall Award, and the Chicago Review of Books Award.



The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai - Jun 2011 LTER in Reviews of Early Reviewers Books (October 2011)


iamnader | 110 other reviews | Jul 6, 2024 |
I'll be honest and say that at first I was a bit skeptical of this book. My public library listed this among the many female authors to-be-read and I took a chance and checked it out. The summary of this book does it not justice, because by then end I was relatively pleased at the way the book had ended.

However, I give it four stars out of five because I feel that some of the characters in the book were underdeveloped and fell short of intriguing. I speak mainly of the first part of the book, which ironically was the longest part of the book. Half way through the book, I found myself looking at the different reviews this book received--and I find that I've been doing that a lot lately with books I check out at the library--and now have to agree with some of those who stated that everything except for part 1 would have made a better story and should have been more developed. I would have to say that part 3 was my favorite of the book because this is the part where the story really comes to life and that you fee like you're spying the lives of those living in this 100 year old house.

I will say this, I thought it clever the way the author portrayed the story-line. Any doubts I had before, or any missing pieces I had encountered in previous chapters, made sense in the end. And that is a wonderful feeling.

I want to be clear and say that it is a good read, and that it does merit being read. And it does take a lot of talent to write. Period. So, I do feel that Rebecca Makkai should take pride in her work.
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prebs29 | 44 other reviews | Jul 6, 2024 |
As an adult, Bodie looks back on her relationship with a favorite and charismatic male teacher at her New England prep school. Her narrative is addressed to him, prompted by her return to the school to teach a seminar on podcasting, for which she is well-known. One of her classmates has been murdered, and with her adult awareness of male abuse and the me-too movement, she wonders about the role of the former teacher in the victim's death.
sleahey | 68 other reviews | Jul 4, 2024 |

I would have DNFd @25pages but I struggled through as it’s my bookclub book
This was padded with a ton of superfluous details and did not need to be so ridiculously long.
The main character is unlikeable (also not a fan of true crime podcast).
The ending is unsatisfying, and the author tries to make meaningful commentary on social issues but comes off surface level & cringe.
Did not enjoy a single thing about this.
spiritedstardust | 68 other reviews | Jun 1, 2024 |



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