The Great Believers

The Great Believers☃ [PDF / Epub] ☂ The Great Believers By Rebecca Makkai ✑ – A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary ParisIn 1985 Yale Tishman the development director for an art gallery in Chicago A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and The Great eBook ✓ loss set in s Chicago and contemporary ParisIn 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 s 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 sisterThirty 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 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. Only giving this five stars because I'm married to the author's husband In a weird way I feel that this is the sweeping gay masterpiece that A Little Life should’ve been It’s a nice long read about a close knit group of gay friends and their straight allies that jumps back and forth between the height of the AIDS crisis in Chicago and present day Paris Makkai does a pretty clever thing here by drawing parallels between the Lost Generation from WWI and survivors of the AIDS crisis Ordinarily when I read books that go back and forth between two narrators I tend to have a favorite but in this case I didn’t Both Fiona and Yale’s parts address the central uestion of what happens to our communities when they are ravaged? Who carries on the memories? What does it mean to take on the burden of that mantle? And how do families—biological and chosen—reconcile with lives that can be simultaneously too short and too long? To say that I loved this book would be both an understatement and a misrepresentation I can’t say that it was the best book that I’ve ever read or the one that moved me the most Some parts—like Yale’s almost aggressive naïveté or Claire’s tenuously grounded animosity towards her mom—troubled me from a craft perspective but I somehow love it all the for its flaws It’s almost like that friend who you know is kind of a boar but you enjoy spending time with anyway I loved the flaws here I was in the world fully If you liked this make sure to follow me on Goodreads for reviews 2020 UPDATE this book is nominated for the International DUBLIN Literary Award Good luck Author MakkaiDNF p148What I hear you thinking is wrong with this old man? DNF a five star read? Five star a DNF? side eyeThe fact is that I lived this story I lost the love of my life to AIDS and attended far too many funerals and memorial services before I was 30 So I really just can't finish the book I am not up for those wounding memories to be poked with a stickThe prose is exemplary in its economy and precision both ualities I admire greatly Yale came fully into his manhood for me when on the last page I read he reflected even if the world wasn't always a good place he reminded himself that he could trust his perceptions now Things were so often exactly what they seemed to bePrecisely Yale they so often are and one is always wise to remember that fact Occam proposed his razor for a reason It's an incisive haw insightSo while I fully support the praisemongers in their efforts to convince others to read this book I am not possessed of the emotional horsepower to do it myself I encourage y'all to take up the challenge and read it tout de suite and predict most will come away with a moving and fulfilling experience vague thumbs up I'm between 35 and 4 stars rounding upAt the start of The Great Believers Rebecca Makkai's beautifully poignant yet meandering new novel it is 1985 and Yale Tishman and his partner Charlie are preparing for the memorial service for Nico a friend who has recently died of AIDSThe gay community in Chicago where they live has been devastated by this recently discovered disease as have gay communities across the country The sense of loss they feel is just beginning to hit them as they begin hearing and about people getting sick people living in denial and fear people simply disappearingAs much as the disease and people's attitudes towards it affect him Yale has other things to focus on As the development director for a university art gallery he stumbles on an unexpected windfall an elderly woman wants to beueath her collection of 1920s artwork to the gallery But uncertainty about the artwork's authenticity and familial outrage at the potential value of a gift that could be given to strangers causes Yale and his colleagues stress than anticipated at a time when emotions are running high in his relationship with Charlie as wellWith the disease circling ever closer Yale finds his life changing in many ways and he begins relying and on Fiona his friend Nico's younger sister Fiona is wise beyond her years and finds herself acting as a companion of sorts and ultimately power of attorney for many of her late brother's friends It's a role that impacts her greatly'The thing is the disease itself feels like a judgment We've all got a little Jesse Helms on our shoulder right? If you got it from sleeping with a thousand guys then it's a judgment on your promiscuity If you got it from sleeping with one guy once that's almost worse it's like a judgment on all of us like the act itself is the problem and not the number of times you did it And if you got it because you thought you couldn't it's a judgment on your hubris'In a parallel storyline which takes place 30 years later Fiona has traveled to Paris to try and find her estranged daughter who had fled the US after joining a cult Fiona's relationship with her daughter has always been difficult but she hopes to make peace with Claire She stays with an old friend from Chicago Richard Campo a photographer who made his name in the 1980s taking pictures of those in the community affected by AIDS many of whom were his friends and former lovers Surrounded by memories both photographic and anecdotal Fiona is haunted by the ghosts of her friends She comes to realize how much she sacrificed caring for and loving these men sacrifices which affected her marriage her relationship with her daughter and her life But given the chance would she do it over again or would she put herself and her own life first?Parts of this book were tremendously moving and poignant reminding me both of the movie Longtime Companion and at times Tim Murphy's gorgeous novel Christodora see my review although this is very different Makkai did a phenomenal job capturing the emotions the fears the culture and the challenges of those infected with AIDS in the early days of the diseaseI enjoyed Fiona's character and her journey but I could have done without her protracted search for her daughter and her interaction with another random character although I like the way her modern day storyline intertwined with Yale's And while I loved Yale's character and could have read a book about him alone I'll admit I could have done without the whole art thing although it did set other plot points into motionI was fortunate to come of age after AIDS had been discovered so I understood the risks and methods of prevention much better than those who came before me But that doesn't mean that life in the late 1980s and early 1990s weren't without fear and ignorance and prejudice toward those with the diseaseMakkai is a tremendously talented writer and I've read a few of her previous books While this book frustrated me at times I still really found it compelling and emotional and feel like Makkai did an excellent job examining a bleak time in the LGBT community See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoriablogspotcom or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at I read this novel when it was first published in 2018 and I was gobsmacked by how spectacular every moment was and by the rich panorama Rebecca Makkah created of Chicago in the 1980s and Paris in 2015I was so enad with it and I missed the characters so much that last month I bought the audiobook so I could experience it once againAnd I loved it even Michael Crouch's narration is spectacular so many voices all distinct and he captured beautifully the rhythms of Makkah's prose and its moments of spectacular ebullience and hope and then its tragic despair and wistfulnessMy God this book and this audiobook is a gem There’s an important story here at least in the 1985 strand as AIDS cuts through the Chicago gay community – but something about Makkai’s style left me feeling mostly disengaged from it in emotional terms Sure I had moments of anger as we witness a dead man’s parents exclude his lover from the funeral the horrible voyeurism that makes a thing of a man being gay black whatever But overall I was never able to get involved or attached to what is going onAdd to the style a baggy structure that flips between 1985 and 2015 and a whole other story that has little connection to the first one other than featuring the same character and the book started to alienate me furtherWhat is it about contemporary authors that they almost all seem to think that they need multiple narratives times switches and excess baggage to create a novel? A careful focused intimate story of the AIDS crisis and its effects might have made this palatable 45 The story opens with the death of a young gay man named Nico Disowned by this family for his sexual preference that is all but his younger sister Fiona who is with him until the end This is her introduction into the gay community a community that will embrace her as she embraces them It is the eighties in Chicago Boys town and the AIDS epidemic is in full swing We meet many of these young men so many whose families have cut them loose See their fear their sorrow as die or find out they have the virus Fiona is with many of them caring for them when they cannot care for themselves I can't imagine watching everyone you love die and we see how this affects Fiona in her life a dual story line with the second in 2015 as Fiona searches for her own grown daughter She finds Richard a photographer a survivor from the eighties and there will be another to survive a total surprise Reminded me a little of A Little Life the scope the friends losing so much Maybe because it was set in Chicago all places I've been so could imagine this story visuallyBelmont Rocks Lincoln Park and the zoo Halsted and Ann Sathers restaurant one of my favorites in the city In the Seventies I hung in Old Town with a group of friends two were gay a couple Jimmy and Max they were wonderful don't know what happened to them I got married had children lost touch I loved this novel could fully embrace and connect with the story a story that takes the reader fully into this time period The political ramifications of a government that was totally unconcerned a public that turned their heads since this only affected gays which proved not to be true The insurance companies and the way they fought not to pay claims citing preexisting conditions so that many died in Cook County hospital Families who cut their children off many never speaking to them again We see the other side too friends banding together trying to be there for those who had nobody A mother who stays with her son through this terrible time So many of these characters we come to know intimately especially Yale who is our narrator along with Fiona Their is a secondary plot in the eighties that concerns Fiona's aunt and some valuable artwork It was a little drawn out but it does tie into the story and is something Yale is determined to complete Yale's sees it as a honor to a love that never stopped Northwestern and DePaul places Yale works DePaul a school my youngest daughter graduated from know it wellIn the present Richard and his photographic exhibit will bring the novel full circle giving the many who had died once again a voice Merging the past with the present This was Angela Esil and my read for March I liked this one than they found it both profound touching and a story that needed to be toldARC from Edelweiss Alternating between present day Paris and '80s Chicago The Great Believers explores the impact and aftermath of the AIDS epidemic on a close knit group of friends living in Boystown The novel tells three stories through two perspectives In the main plot Yale Tishman struggles to cope with the illness and loss of his friends and placate a jealous partner who fears Yale will leave him after the epidemic ends; all the while Yale the development director for an art gallery tries to acuire several high profile pieces from the great aunt of his best friend Fiona The great aunt Nora knew a wide array of famous artists of the 1910s who died suddenly and brutally in WWI and over the course of the novel the tragic stories of the older generation are indirectly paralleled with those of Yale and his friends The final storyline follows Fiona as she tries to track down her estranged daughter in Paris and make sense of the fact that she like Nora has outlived all her closest friends from her twenties By the end I wasn't convinced Nora or her friends needed to be in this novel Her subplot slows the pace down without adding much and the connection between WWI and the AIDS epidemic is muddled at best But passages of The Great Believers are heart wrenching and Yale's story at least is well structured and affecting The Great Believers 35 stars rounded up 1980s Chicago the devastating AIDS epidemic seen through the eyes of a group of gay friends as they slowly lose so many in their circle of friends reflects the time in a realistic way Fiona who has lost her loving brother and many of their friends over the years travels in to Paris in 2015 connecting with Richard an old friend from those times as she searches for her daughter and the grandchild she has not met The chapters alternate between these two time periods and these two places and it was good to have the connection of some of the same people so moving from one time to another felt seamless in waysThis is an important story depicting the devastation of the Aids epidemic but there were so many times when I felt that the story dragged on was too long that I was not as captivated as I hoped I would be While I was definitely moved by the 1980s sections in the first half of the book there were too many characters and I found it difficult to connect However the last uarter of the book really changed my overall feelings about the story It was in these last chapters when we see the intimate thoughts and profound affect on one of the characters Yale that I became much connected emotionally The awfulness of the physical symptoms and the emotional toll were heartbreaking and Yale is a character that I felt I came to know in a much deeper way than others In the 2015 ending chapters Richard’s photographic show brought the two time frames together full circle in a perfect way Again I think it’s an important story to tell and an important one to be read For that and the last part of the book I’ll round up to 4 starsI read this with with Diane and Esil Diane loved it most I think and had a special connection since she is from Chicago I received an advanced copy of this book from Viking through Edelweiss

The Great Believers ePUB ´ The Great  eBook ✓
  • Paperback
  • 421 pages
  • The Great Believers
  • Rebecca Makkai
  • English
  • 13 February 2014
  • 9780735223530