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The Believers by Zoe Heller
The Believers of Zoe Heller's novel are Joel and Audrey Litvinoff, strident atheists and Marxists who are defined by their politics. Joel is a civil rights lawyer in New York City when he suffers a stroke in the courtroom at the age of 72 and lapses into a coma. Audrey, his English wife who has held everything together by sheer force of will and verbal bombardments, dotes on their adopted son, Lenny, despite his addiction and listlessness in life. She never allowed her daughters, Karla and Rosa, to get close to her. Karla struggles with her weight, fertility, self-confidence, and unhappy marriage but may find liberation in another man's arms. Rosa turns from her revolutionary ways to embrace the family's past with Orthodox Judaism, which upsets Audrey even more. Audrey's world suffers one more wound as another woman emerges claiming to be Joel's mistress. The Believers has received mostly positive reviews with The Guardian saying, "The Believers is the work of a writer at the top of her game."