September 19, 2010

The Believers - Zoe Heller


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.

14 comments:

Steph said...

I really enjoyed this book when I read it earlier this year as well. Difficult/unpleasant characters aren't really a turnoff for me when it comes to fiction, and even though the Livitnoffs aren't people I'd like to know in real life, I found their story really compelling to read. It was my first Heller novel, but it won't be my last - I picked up her other novel, Notes on a Scandal, right after I finished this one, and I hope to read it soon.

Sarah said...

I was impressed by Heller's Notes on a Scandel, and have been meaning to read this. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Dot said...

I read this on my honeymoon and really enjoyed it, makes you have a good old think about life!

Karen said...

Hi Steph - I feel similarly to you - I don't necessarily have to like the characters - I just have to care about their story and where it is going.

Hi Sarah - I'm planning to pick up Notes On A Scandel next!

Hi Dot - it definitely does!!

JoAnn said...

I've got Heller's What Was She Thinking? (Notes on a Scandal) in my tbr pile, but this one sounds very good, too. Glad you enjoyed it.

Chat Noir said...

It WAS a good book wasn't it. SO glad you liked it too....and I agree with you about the women in the book. I'd hate to be like Audrey, but I think there'a a part of her in me (the disorganised bits with luck).

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Notes on a Scandal has been one of my favorite books this year and I can't wait to read this one too. I have been keeping it for the right moment since Heller didn't write that many books! I'm happy to hear you enjoyed this one. Great review!

Karen said...

Hi JoAnn - I will be adding those to my pile soon me thinks!

Hi Chat Noir - I so totally agree! I could connect with Audrey a little bit more than I liked!

Hi Kay - I will definitely move on to Notes on a Scandel.

Mystica said...

Both the book and the author are new to me so I am glad for the post and the highlights! Thank you.

Bybee said...

I'm interested in this one as well. Thanks for the review.

Karen said...

Hi Mystica - I hope you check them out!

Hi Bybee - I hope you end up reading this one!

Isabella Monique Moate said...

Really great review. I finished this book just last week and must say the Livitnoffs are fantastically developed. I really enjoyed this read and I heartily recomend it to fans of Heller's other books.

Anonymous said...

I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It's a very easy on
the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to
come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a
developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!


Here is my homepage; diets that work

isiako motio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.