At once an historical look into the outbreak of the AIDS crisis in Chicago, and a tale of a mother’s desperate quest to find her estranged daughter, The Great Believers is, at heart, a story of friendship – how it evolves over time, adjusts over loss, and strengthens over turmoil. In Rebecca Makkai’s greatest work yet, we get entwined with a circle of friends, ostensibly being picked off one by one by the new disease; all while little sister of the first victim adopts a mission as group caretaker. Thirty years later, we see how her devotion to these men affected her relationship with her own family, when her daughter has cut all ties (joining a cult, and fleeing to Paris). With a soupcon of the avant-garde art scene, and a smidgeon of the dating over 50 scene, this novel pulls us into a sweeping tale with brilliantly-drawn characters and a remarkable story. -Rebekah Rine
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler
“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
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.
The Great Believers has become a critically acclaimed, indelible piece of literature; it was selected as one of New York Times Best 10 Books of the Year, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Buzzfeed Book of the Year, a Skimm Reads pick, and a pick for the New York Public Library’s Best Books of the year.
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.
Check out Rebecca on Late Night with Seth Meyers!
About Positive Directions
Positive Directions is a non-profit organization in Wichita, Kansas committed to the prevention of HIV transmission. We aim to increase access to sexual health resources and improve knowledge in the community about HIV, STIs, and safer sex practices. Learn more about Positive Directions HERE.