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Inspired Correspondent
Maria_H
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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About the Book & Author

[ Edited ]

Zoë Heller and The Believers

 

Title: The Believers

When New York radical lawyer Joel Litvinoff is felled by a sudden, massive stroke, his wife, Audrey, uncovers a secret that forces her to re-examine both her belief in him and her commitment to their forty-year marriage. Meanwhile, her ne’er-do-well adopted son, Lenny, is back on drugs again and her daughters, Karla and Rosa, are grappling with their own dilemmas. Rosa, a disillusioned revolutionary socialist, has found herself increasingly beguiled by the world of Orthodox Judaism; now she is being pressed to make a commitment and must decide if she is really ready to forsake all her cherished secular values for a Torah-observant life. Karla, an unhappily married hospital social worker and union activist, falls into a tumultuous affair with a conservative newstand proprietor: can she really love a man whose politics she reviles? And how to choose between a life of duty and principle and her own happiness?

 

About Zoë Heller:

Zoë Heller was born in London, England. She studied English Lit at Oxford University and Columbia University. She started her career in journalism as a staff writer for the Independent on Sunday (U.K.). In 1993, she moved to New York, where she worked for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and various other publications, while also writing a weekly column for The Sunday Times (UK) and later, The Telegraph (UK) about her life in New York. She published her first novel, Everything You Know, in 1999. Her second novel, What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, published in 2003, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the Second Place Winner of the 2003 Discover Award for Fiction; it was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The film based on that book, Notes on a Scandal, starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Message Edited by Maria_H on 09-15-2008 10:53 AM


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Contributor
Suetj
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book & Author

I am looking forward to finding out what the secret is that Audrey discovers.  I am into Chapter 2 and I am enjoying all of the family dynamics so far and the humor in it all!   :-)
Frequent Contributor
LucyintheOC
Posts: 69
Registered: ‎03-05-2008
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Re: About the Book & Author

In the cover letter from the author that we received with our ARCs, Ms. Heller refers to this book as being comic and says that she hopes we will laugh (paraphrased because I left the letters at work and I'm at home). I wanted to ask if any of you found this book comic, or laughed while reading it. I didn't...and I'm wondering if this was also your experience. I found myself shaking my head, rolling my eyes, my blood pressure rising on occasion, and saying "oy"...but I didn't find anything comic about the book nor did I laugh at any time while reading it. Not that I approached the book in an overly serious manner -- after all, it's fiction. But I'm wondering if I missed the perspective.
Frequent Contributor
VictoriousMary
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-11-2008
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Re: About the Book & Author

I am still reading Believers.  But I have not found any comic moments.  My heart goes out to the young adults in the book.  I know they are not children but they are in such pain and seem to have no support from Audrey, their mother.  I want to cry for each of them.  Audrey has become so sharp tongued and cruel in her words and actions.  She is not a person I want to be around.

 

And then we are allowed to hear her inner dialogue and I begin to understand her and I find myself feeling sorry for her and pitying her in a new way.  I do not know why this women can be one way on the inside and such a rotten person on the outside.  The two personas do not match. 

 

Can people really act this way?  Do we really lack such integrity between our inner and outer selves?  I hope there is more unity and answering of these questions as the book continues. 

Victorious Mary
Contributor
Suetj
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book & Author

I found the family dynamics funny in that I was picturing it like a movie-the son and daughter inlaw in the beginning chapter come pouncing in with their coffee cups left on the table and Joel basically rolling his eyes as he goes out and gets his newspapers, the sister Julie cleaning with "lemony freshness" as he just basically again rolls his eyes at it all.  I think that scene is quite funny.  Maybe those are the humorous moments the author referred to.  As I am in only chapter 3 I cannot comment further as to the humore but I do see your point-the book is quite serious and has much depth dealing with political atmospheres and dealing with their own inner "dilemmas."  Her writing is quite poetic though -look over how she forms her sentences and her words.  I am enjoying that part of it also but again I agree as to the seriousness nature you refer to.
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book & Author

Even though I would not classify this book as a comedy, I did find myself laughing at times at some of the comments made.
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: About the Book & Author

[ Edited ]

Hey guys! I appreciate your opinions about the use of humor in the book, but I'm not sure this is the right place for them. We'll get to it in the discussion threads and there will be a place for your reviews of the book in the future.

 

Thanks!

Message Edited by KxBurns on 10-21-2008 08:32 PM
Reader
Lorisea1
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎12-20-2007
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Re: About the Book & Author

 

Me too - Audrey is such a stong character that the secret is either going to 'make' or 'break her.

New User
Sandrag
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-18-2008
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Re: About the Book & Author

This was the first book I read by Zoe Heller and kinda enjoyed it.  Audrey was quite different from most moms I know and what a strange twist at the end of the book. I felt sympathy toward Audrey as think she was quite a lonesome person and had alot of inner anger kinda toward everyone!

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book & Author

I found quite a bit of humor, not so much in the situations as in the writing. 

 


LucyintheOC wrote:
In the cover letter from the author that we received with our ARCs, Ms. Heller refers to this book as being comic and says that she hopes we will laugh (paraphrased because I left the letters at work and I'm at home). I wanted to ask if any of you found this book comic, or laughed while reading it. I didn't...and I'm wondering if this was also your experience. I found myself shaking my head, rolling my eyes, my blood pressure rising on occasion, and saying "oy"...but I didn't find anything comic about the book nor did I laugh at any time while reading it. Not that I approached the book in an overly serious manner -- after all, it's fiction. But I'm wondering if I missed the perspective.

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: About the Book & Author

Hey guys! Just another reminder that this isn't the place for you to share your impressions of the book. To join the discussion, try here (if you've read the whole way through) or here (if you've read Part I), and stay tuned for a thread in which you can post your reviews.

 

Thanks!

Karen