The Believers is a book I have had on my shelf for a while now - I'm not even sure why I purchased it in the first place but it was what I pulled out when I was in a mood for a really good character driven book during the past week - it definitely hit the spot!
The novel focuses on the members of the New York living Litvinoff family - Matriarch and UK born and bred Audrey and her radical lawyer husband Joel and their three children, Karla, Rosa and Lenny. Each member of the family plays a very different role in terms of their own lives but also in terms of the dynamics and structures of the family unit and we see these roles played out after a significant event occurs soon after the beginning of the book.
I loved this book for many reasons but one of the main reasons would have to be the different types of strengths displayed by the main female characters. The Litvinoff daughters are struggling to try and find their own place in the world separate and distinct from the lifestyle and choices their strong willed and viewed parents have steered them towards. I enjoyed the real sense of struggle that was portrayed in these two characters especially.
The mother and wife of the Litvinoff family, Audrey, would have to be one of my favourite fictional characters ever! She is so horrible in so many ways - harsh, abrasive, rude and judgemental but I still lover her! She just seems so real and solid - she never wavers and I believed in her for that.
The male characters in the novel really seemed to take a back seat in the storyline - even though they were the basis for so many of the actions and choices made by the female characters the narrative seemed dominated and driven by the females to me.
If you are a lover of strong, character driven novels then I think you would really enjoy this book - it is a novel that made me think about the issues while at the same time it allowed me to get lost in the lives of the characters. I'm looking forward to reading more of Heller's novels.