Heller’s decadent mix of linguistic flourishes and biting humour - immediately apparent in her previous novel – is perhaps more restrained here, waiting until after the understated prologue to come into play and wow the humble reader. Save for the occasional slip, Heller avoids common cliché in both her descriptions and her details which touch on human weakness with nuggets of piercing accuracy and that clever breed of wit which wavers between sardonic and sympathetic.
If Notes looked at an affair from the obsessive gaze of a bitter ‘friend’, The Believers casts a wavering eye around the edges of one, dipping into the personal stories of those on the periphery rather than exploring that of the key players. This is a more ambitious novel; the complexity of the family dynamics harder to negotiate, and consequently the potency is somewhat more diluted. Nevertheless, Heller has still crafted a thoroughly compelling novel which affirms that her skill for touching on multiple nerves is as finely honed and deftly spun as ever.
Uncut review joy (plus a snippet of synopsis)
Other opinions (it’s only fair):
Interview (just because)
How it begins (but remember that it gets better)