The Great Believers Book Cover

By: Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers

Bella P.

Selected By

Bella P.

Book 08
Book Rating
★4.6/5 Stars
Month Read
October 2020


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.

The Great Believers has become a critically acclaimed, indelible piece of literature; it was selected as one of New York Times Best 10 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.


“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.”

, Rebecca Makkai

“Asher said, "Does it really ever go anywhere?" "Does what?" "Love. Does it vanish?" Yale looked at his own hand, resting on the dashboard to keep himself steady whenever Asher braked suddenly. "I mean, we never want it to. But it does, doesn't it?" Asher said, "I think that's the saddest thing in the world, the failure of love. Not hatred, but the failure of love.”

, Rebecca Makkai

Behind the scenes, when we were reading the book

Next Book