By Zoe Heller
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061430213, 335pp.)
Publication Date: January 2010
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When a stroke fells radical New York lawyer Joel Litvinoff, a secret is revealed that forces Audrey, his wife, to reexamine everything she believed about their forty-year marriage. In the meantime Joel's children are struggling with their own dilemmas and doubts. Disillusioned revolutionary Rosa has been drawn into the world of Orthodox Judaism. Karla, a devoted--and married--social worker hoping to adopt a child, is falling in love with the owner of a newspaper stand. Lenny, the ne'er-do-well, faces yet another relapse into heroin addiction. In the course of battling their own demons--and one another--the Litvinoffs must reexamine long-held articles of faith and decide what--if anything--they still believe in.
Who says unlikable characters make for unlikable books? The prickly people in Zoe Heller's The Believers are infused with wit and intelligence. Author Meghan Daum says she has recommended the poignant satire to more friends than she can count. More at NPR.org
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- Why does Joel Litvinoff propose marriage to Audrey Howard after their first date, and what does his doing so suggest about his character? How typical (or atypical) is their relationship for a couple married some forty years?