Click to receive personalized book recommendations daily.
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List

The Great Believers

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Hardcover
Jun 19, 2018 | 432 Pages
See All Formats (2) +
  • Hardcover $27.00

    Jun 19, 2018 | 432 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Jun 19, 2018 | 432 Pages

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Product Details

Praise

“Makkai knits themes of loss, betrayal, friendship and survival into a powerful story of people struggling to keep their humanity in dire circumstances.”—People Magazine

“A striking, emotional journey… Makkai creates a powerful, unforgettable meditation, not on death, but rather on the power and gift of life. This novel will undoubtedly touch the hearts and minds of readers.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Tearjerker… The Great Believers asks big questions about redemption, tragedy, and connection. Makkai has written her most ambitious novel yet.”—Entertainment Weekly

The Great Believers soars…Makkai has full command of her multi-generational perspective, and by its end, 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.”Chicago Tribune

“At turns heartbreaking and hopeful, the novel brings the first years of the AIDS epidemic into very immediate view, in a manner that will seem nostalgic to some and revelatory to others…Makkai’s sweeping fourth novel shows the compassion of chosen families and the tension and distance that can exist in our birth ones.”Library Journal

“Sure to become a classic Chicago novel…a deft, harrowing novel that’s as beautiful as its cover.” —Chicago Review of Books

“Focused on a group of friends, lovers, and family outcasts, the book highlights the way tragic illness shifts the courses of people’s lives—and how its touch forever lingers on those left behind.”Harper’s Bazaar

“With its broad time span and bedrock of ferocious, loving friendships, [The Great Believers] might remind readers of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life…though it is, overall, far brighter than that novel. As her intimately portrayed characters wrestle with painful pasts and fight to love one another and find joy in the present in spite of what is to come, Makkai carefully reconstructs 1980s Chicago, WWI-era and present day Paris, and scenes of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. A tribute to the enduring forces of love and art, over everything.”Booklist (starred review)

“Layered, satisfying… Makkai’s novel about resilience and hope is sure to win readers over.”—Publishers Weekly, “Summer Reads 2018, Fiction”

“Another ambitious change of pace for the versatile and accomplished [Rebecca] Makkai… her rich portraits of an array of big personalities and her affecting depiction of random, horrific death faced with varying degrees of gallantry make this tender, keening novel an impressive act of imaginative empathy. As compulsively readable as it is thoughtful and moving: an unbeatable fictional combination.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Rebecca Makkai is an unsung gem.”Book Riot

“[The Great Believers] will move and captivate readers.”Bookish

“Stirring, spellbinding and full of life.”—Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife

“This expansive, huge-hearted novel conveys the scale of the trauma that was the early AIDS crisis, and conveys, too, the scale of the anger and love that rose up to meet it. Rebecca Makkai shows us characters who are devastated but not defeated, who remain devoted, in the face of death, to friendship and desire and joyful, irrepressible life. I loved this book.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“Makkai has created a moving story about Chicago and Paris, the past and present, the young men lost to AIDS and the ones who survived. And just as her novel evokes art’s power to commemorate the departed, The Great Believers is itself a poignant work of memory.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Sympathizer

The Great Believers is by turns funny, harrowing, tender, devastating, and always hugely suspenseful.  It reminds us, poignantly, of how many people, mostly young, often brilliant, were lost to the AIDS epidemic, and of how those who survived were marked by that struggle.  This is Rebecca Makkai at the height of her powers.”—Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury

“In the remarkable The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai conjures up a time as startling as a dream and, in its extremity, achingly familiar to us now, close enough to hold. A tender, sly, immersive, irreverent, life force of a book.”—Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship

The Great Believers kept me up reading late into the night, and I’d wake up thinking about Makkai’s vibrant, complex, and deeply human characters. This is an immersive, heartbreaking novel—I loved it.”—Maggie Shipstead, author of Astonish Me
 
“Rebecca Makkai’s novel The Great Believers has stolen my heart. Crossing decades and lives, love and loss, art, and the long lasting legacy of AIDS, the novel is a brilliant triumph of empathy and intimacy between friends.”—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children

“Time is a healer and a heartbreaker in Makkai’s brilliant and beautiful novel. The Great Believers kept me hoping and guessing, heart in hand, until the very last page.”—Carol Rifka Brunt, author of Tell the Wolves I’m Home
 
The Great Believers is a sprawling, wildly ambitious novel. Rebecca Makkai brings to life a large cast of characters, and weaves together the threads of her storyline with the ease and authority of a skilled magician. But in the end, what makes this novel such a rousing success is the emotional truthfulness of her characters and the way she captures the panic and rage of the period. I came to feel I knew these people, and was moved by the dilemmas and difficult choices they had to face.”—Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life

The Great Believers is a magnificent novel—well imagined, intricately plotted, and deeply felt, both humane and human. It unfurls like a peony: you keep thinking it can’t get any more perfect, and it does. A stunning feat.”—Rabih Alameddine, author of The Angel of History and Koolaids: The Art of War

Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top