The Great Believers

The Great Believers

Large Print - 2018
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"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"--
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781432859701
Branch Call Number: FIC MAKKAI 2018
Characteristics: 737 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


From the critics

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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

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.

Oct 30, 2018

This is such a sad beautiful novel. It took me back to 1985 San Francisco and the devastation of the AIDS epidemic that we experienced and all the young men we lost then. I loved the way Makkai tied together 1920s Paris, 1985 Chicago and 2015 Paris. The echoes of loss create a ripple effect, devastating not only those directly effected but continuing into the relationship between a mother who was less than present and a daughter who experienced it as antipathy towards her.

GardenHome_MollyC Oct 25, 2018

Fascinating and heartbreaking window into a community in crisis in the not-very-distant past. Bouncing back and forth between two time periods (in this case the 1980s and 2015) doesn't always work for me, but I was invested in both almost equally and eager to see how the stories would come together.


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