The Great Believers

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by Rebecca Makkai | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0735223548 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingMmeClintonwing of South Berwick, Maine USA on 4/1/2023
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingMmeClintonwing from South Berwick, Maine USA on Saturday, April 1, 2023
Review: The Great Believers (Rebecca Makkai) Although this book is permeated with sadness, even occasionally despair, it also made my heart swell frequently. It is such a meticulous rendering of the lives and times of the main characters. The title was inspired by an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote: "We were the great believers. / I have never cared for any men as much as for these who felt the first springs when I did, and saw death ahead, and were reprieved--and who now walk the long stormy summer." Those wounded survivors of war... and yes, World War I figures in the book as memory, and the wounded survivors are likened to another war, but this war was the one fought in the 1980's and '90s when the AIDS epidemic devastated the lives of so many. The book opens early in the epidemic in Chicago at the funeral of one of a group of friends, many of whom will perish as the book goes on. Nico's sister Fiona is central to the book, younger by far than her brother; she had abandoned her parents to take care of her brother whom her parents had rejected, and most of her youth will be devoted to caring for the fallen in this horrific war where the dying were often ridiculed, stigmatized and denied health care. It is painful in many parts, but I've never read better scenes of the reality of what this dreadful disease did. Meanwhile, Yale (one of the many friends) was working with acquisitions for a new art library for Northwestern University and stumbles across a treasure of paintings from around 1919, owned by Nora (a relative of Fiona's), and this could be the find of a lifetime...Nora had modeled for the likes of Modigliani; but Nora wants to make this bequest to honor the love of her life, an obscure painter who died shortly after the war. The book dances constantly with the great ballet of the power of love, the pain of loss, the desire to remember. Although much of the book takes place in these years, chapters jump back and forth from then to 2015, when a grown Fiona goes to Paris to try to find her estranged daughter. This was the year of the most horrendous terrorist attack there, at the Bataclan. I felt I was walking the streets of my beloved Paris in those chapters. "If we could just be on earth at the same place and same time as everyone we loved, if we could be born together and die together, it would be so simple. And it's not." And yet it is a miracle, love and life. A beautiful book.

Journal Entry 2 by wingMmeClintonwing at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA on Saturday, April 1, 2023

Released 2 mos ago (4/1/2023 UTC) at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA


on the bench near the entrances

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