We are so thrilled to welcome back our great friend Rebecca Makkai to talk about her new book, The Great Believers, 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.
Rebecca consulted with longtime Chicago bookseller, writer, and activist Owen Keehnen when she was researching The Great Believers, and we are delighted he can join us to be in conversation with Rebecca for this event.
Can't make it to the event? Call us at 847-446-8880, and we'll be happy to arrange an autographed copy for you.
"The Great Believers soars...magnificent...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
"Compulsively readable...a relentless engine mowing back and forth across decades, zooming in on subtlest physical and emotional nuances of dozens of characters, missing no chance to remind us what's at stake." --San Francisco Chronicle
"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
FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler