Sunday, June 24, 2018

6/25/18 - Today on KUCI 88.9fm - Award-winning author Rebecca Makkai joined Janeane to talk about her latest novel, The Great Believers

LISTEN to today's conversation
with Rebecca Makkai!

In her stunning new novel, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai weaves together 1980s Chicago with contemporary Paris, to tell a story of survivors who were forever affected by the AIDS crisis. THE GREAT BELIEVERS is the first novel about the AIDS epidemic in Chicago, and Makkai, a Chicago native, digs deep into the history and heart of how AIDS affected her hometown, and turns her research into a beautifully poignant novel that feels almost too real to be fiction.

With themes of governmental indifference, a broken healthcare system, and survivors’ guilt, THE GREAT BELIEVERS captures the panic and rage of the period, reminds us of those who were needlessly lost, and exposes similarities to the political and social climate in the U.S. today. Makkai’s novel is more than a beautiful work of literary fiction; it is an ever-present account of the lives of those affected by AIDS.

The year is 1985 and AIDS has claimed Yale Tishman’s friend Nico. As Yale’s career begins to flourish, the carnage grows around him—his friends are dying, his partner is infected, and he might even have the virus himself. 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. She finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS catastrophe affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona’s stories unfold in incredibly moving and sometimes surprising ways, as both struggle to find goodness in the face of disaster. The two stories are compelling in their own right, but together, they are a masterpiece of fiction that feels entirely real.

Rebecca Makkai is the author of The Hundred Year-House, The Borrower, and Music for Wartime. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Fantasy, Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, among others. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.


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