The Great Believers

A Novel

paperback, 448 pages

Published June 4, 2019 by Penguin Books.

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4 stars (12 reviews)

3 editions

Review of 'The Great Believers' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book paints a compelling picture of Chicago in the 1980s as AIDS ravaged the gay community. In some ways, it reminded me of A Little Life, though it wasn't as jarring or sensational.

This story had the feeling of a train running the tracks – I knew where it was headed from the opening pages, and yet, despite its predictability, the ride still showed me thing I hadn't considered before. It's easy now, in 2020, to forget what it was like when HIV arrived on the scene. And since I was still in middle school when it really wrecked havoc, I didn't have any solid first-hand sense of the experience. So it was interesting to re-live the 80s, but through the perspective of young gay men who went from having it all to watching their friends die terrible, inexplicable deaths.

Anyway. I'm giving this three stars because it was …

Review of 'The Great Believers' on Goodreads

4 stars

Evocative and emotional, for being set intimately in Chicago & Paris, for the terror of love and despair in the AIDS epidemic, for dying obscured and forgotten, and for the well-wrought parallel to the Lost Generation's hopelessness, potentiality, and chaos. At least, as far as I or the author can say from wholly outside.

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