By Zoe Heller
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061430213, 335pp.)
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $14.99*
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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?
“A moving, deeply intelligent look at intellectual loyalties-to ideology, religion, family-and the humans attached to them. This is a wonderful novel.”
-Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland
“A beautiful, oftentimes hilarious, razor-precise portrait of a family, a city, and an examination of the eternal and universal urge to embrace something, anything, greater than ourselves.”
-Richard Price, author of Lush Life
“Tough, wise and funny. . . . A sustaining, intelligent novel about how the big questions affect and change all our small lives.”
-Anne Enright, author of The Gathering
“Profoundly satisfying. . . . Heller injects that difficult-to-pinpoint something-or-other that elevates soap opera to art. . . . The Believers pulses with . . . something deep and lasting and larger than mere story.”
-Lionel Shriver, author of The Post-Birthday World