Rebecca Makkai: The Great Believers (A Kol Hadash Event)

Acclaimed novelist Rebecca Makkai meets Rabbi Adam Chalom for a conversation about her latest novel, the award-winning The Great Believers, now available in paperback. Rebecca will be happy to sign books at the close of the program, and The Book Stall will be on hand to offer books for sale. The Great Believers is one of the most lauded and award-winning novels of the past year, and it's been a favorite among our staff and customers. Join us at 7:30 PM on Friday, August 23rd  at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Rd, in Bannockburn, IL. This event is free and open to the public, and will be part of the evening's  service of the Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation.

Here at The Book Stall we have truly loved The Great Believers and are excited for this chance to hear Rebecca discuss what's come to be among the most lauded and award-winning novels of the past several years.  But don't just take our word for it--

About the book:

"Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers is a page turner... among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present--among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic's early years as well as its course and repercussions...An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it's like to live during times of crisis." --The New York Times Book Review

"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)

"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...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

"Beautiful, tender, harrowing... [ The Great Believers] is a vivid, passionate, heart-wrenching story." --Wall Street Journal

"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

"The latest novel from the stunningly versatile Makkai...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

"Deeply moving...Makkai does an excellent job of capturing the jaded, ironic and affectionately jibing small talk of a group of cultured gay friends in the Reagan era...[Captures] a group of friends in a particular time and place with humor and compassion. Conversations among her gay male characters feel very real -- not too flamboyant, not too serious, always morbidly witty. It's hard not to get drawn into this circle of promising young men as they face their brutally premature extinction." --Newsday

"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)

"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)

About the author:

Rebecca Makkai is the author of The BorrowerThe Hundred-Year House, which won the Novel of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association, andMusic for Wartime. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short StoriesHarper's, and Tin House, among others. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

About Rabbi Adam Chalom: 

He has served as the rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation since 2004. Rabbi Chalom earned a B.A. cum laude in Judaic Studies from Yale University; a Master’s Degree in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies at the University of Michigan; his rabbinic ordination from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ), and his PhD at the University of Michigan.

Event date: 

Friday, August 23, 2019 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Event address: 

North Shore Unitarian Church
2100 Half Day Road
Bannockburn, IL 60015
The Great Believers: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735223530
Availability: On Our Shelves to call before coming in to pick up.
Published: Penguin Books - June 4th, 2019


Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler