HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Great Believers (2018)

by Rebecca Makkai

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2448311,825 (4.31)207
"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"--… (more)
  1. 10
    Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: Both books describe the decimation of a generation of young men as seen close up: from WWI in Testament of Youth and in The Great Believers the ravages of AIDS in the 1980s.
  2. 00
    Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 (Graphic Medicine) by MK Czerwiec (DetailMuse)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 207 mentions

English (81)  German (2)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUAr_vpls15/

Rebecca Makkai - The Great Believers: Too disjointed at first, but in the end a solid portrayal of an impossible time. #cursorybookreviews #cursoryreviews ( )
  khage | Sep 19, 2021 |
Not a book to read during the current Covid pandemic but it has lots of similarities to the AIDS epidemic, in which half of the book is set. ( )
  bergs47 | Sep 16, 2021 |
The Great Believers tells two interrelated stories told in alternate chapters, one set in Chicago in the mid-1980s, the other in Paris in 2015. The first centers around Yale Tishman, development director for a new gallery set to open at Northwestern university. As a gay man, Yale has seen the devastating effects of the AIDS epidemic on his group of friends; in fact, the novel opens at a memorial party for his friend Nico. He is in a relationship with Charlie, a jealous partner who seems to almost be looking for Yale to be unfaithful. Makkai draws us into Yale's personal and professional worlds as he watches so many young men fade away, and as he attempts to secure an endowment of paintings that will give the new museum the boost it needs to attract more donors.

Fiona, Nico's sister, is the character that bridges the two stories. She supported her brother when he came out and was there for him and many of his friends as they succumbed to AIDS. In between the stories, Fiona has tried to get her life back together, attending college, marrying, having a daughter, divorcing, and starting a retail business. But the main regret of her life is that she became estranged from her daughter, Claire, who left home to join a cult. After abandoning the cult, Claire has disappeared, and Fiona is in Paris trying to find her.

If this sounds like two very disjointed stories, that's only because I don't want to give away too much. Trust me, there are many, many connections between the two--characters who appear in both; memories that resurface; resentments, fears, loves, and hopes that underlie Yale's and Fiona's stories. What could have been a painful novel about loss becomes one instead of resiliency and the persistence of love. Highly recommended. ( )
  Cariola | Jul 16, 2021 |
"The world was a terrible, beautiful place..." So writes Rebecca Makkai toward the end of this book. The world remains that seemingly contradictory combination and this moving novel captures it all wonderfully. I was moved to tears often while reading it, sometimes of sadness but much more often of joy. The book follows a large group of people in two different time periods, the older one being from the early 80s into the 90s in Chicago, the latter being in Paris in 2015. The weaving of the stories is handled very well. I found myself totally involved with the people in the book, the main points of view are both completely drawn people who often don't do the perfect thing because they are both terrible and beautiful. That is how life works. I found myself most moved by some of the minor characters who are all given depth despite their lack of time on the page. Dr. Chang is a doctor who treats AIDS patients with compassion but also with dignity. He always tells them the truth which is often difficult but he understands he owes it to them. There is one scene late in the book involving him which I won't describe (no spoilers) but in about 20 words Ms. Makkai painted a portrait of him that couldn't be more detailed if you used 2,000 words. There is also couple, the Sharps, who have very little "screen time" but each time manage to demonstrate basic human kindness with such a lack of artifice or need for acknowledgement or credit that is touched me each time. Again, all of this is conveyed with very few words. This book is a masterpiece of delivering emotion and feeling. The book focuses on how people live, and die, with the choices they make. What do you do later about those choices? You can't change them so you have to figure out how to make the best of where they have left you. These characters truly love and care about each other, but that does not mean they never do anything hurtful or harmful. But the communal spirit and the simple acts that say so much come through strong here. She writes that "it as an artifact of love. Well - of a hopeless, doomed, selfish, ridiculous love, but what other kind had ever existed?" I found my soul lifted by this book. We can't solve huge problems that easily but maybe we can all try and treat everyone we run into with kindness. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Read this in 2 weeks. At times I couldn't stop reading it even though it was past my bedtime! It is amazing how far we have come with AIDS and LGBTQ acceptance since the mid-80s - a scant 30 years ago. Some people did not love the juxtaposition between the present day story in Paris (Fiona's story) and Yale's story in the mid-80s but I thought that was the most interesting part of the book. One of the best I have read this year. Hope it wins the National Book Award. ( )
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
...there’s a lot going on in The Great Believers, and while Makkai doesn’t always manage to make all the plates spin perfectly, she remains thoughtful and consistent throughout about the importance of memory and legacy, and the pain that can come with survival.
added by ablachly | editThe Guardian, Ben East (Aug 20, 2018)
 
Makkai finds surprising resonances across time and experience, offering a timely commentary on the price of memory and the role of art in securing legacies at risk of being lost.
 
“The Great Believers” offers a grand fusion of the past and the present, the public and the personal. It’s remarkably alive despite all the loss it encompasses. And it’s right on target in addressing how the things that the world throws us feel gratuitously out of step with the lives we think we’re leading.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Makkai, Rebeccaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crouch, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
"We were the great believers.
I have never cared for any men as much as for these who felt the first springs when I did, and saw death ahead, and were reprieved -- and who now walk the long stormy summer."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "My Generation"

"the world is a wonder, but the portions are small"
-- Rebecca Hazelton, "Slash Fiction"
Dedication
First words
Twenty miles from here, twenty miles north, the funeral mass was starting.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

"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"--

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.31)
0.5 1
1 2
1.5
2 5
2.5 3
3 29
3.5 22
4 94
4.5 47
5 150

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 162,471,279 books! | Top bar: Always visible