The Believer

The Believer

Encounters with the Beginning, the End, and Our Place in the Middle

Written by: Krasnostein, Sarah

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“Deeply beautiful, and never simple.” — James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History

 

An unforgettable tour of the human condition that explores our universal need for belief to help us make sense of life, death, and everything in between.

 

For Sarah Krasnostein it begins with a Mennonite choir on a subway platform, a fleeting moment of witness that sets her on a fascinating journey to discover why people need to believe in absolute truths and what happens when their beliefs crash into her own. Some of the people Krasnostein interviews believe in things many people do not: ghosts, UFOs, the literal creation of the universe in six days. Some believe in things most people would like to: dying with dignity and autonomy; facing up to our transgressions with truthfulness; living with integrity and compassion.

 

By turns devastating and uplifting, and captured in snapshot-vivid detail, these six profiles — a death doula, a geologist who believes the world is six thousand years old, a lecturer in neurobiology who spends his weekends ghost hunting, the fiancé of a disappeared pilot and UFO enthusiasts, a woman incarcerated for killing her husband after suffering years of domestic violence, and Mennonite families in New York — will leave you convinced that the most ordinary-seeming people are often the most remarkable and that deep and abiding commonalities can be found within the greatest differences. 

 

Vivid, unconventional, entertaining, and full of wonder, The Believer interweaves these stories with compassion and empathy, culminating in an unforgettable tour of the human condition that cuts to the core of who we are as people, and what we’re doing on this earth.

“Deeply beautiful, and never simple.” — James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History

 

An unforgettable tour of the human condition that explores our universal need for belief to help us make sense of life, death, and everything in between.

 

For Sarah Krasnostein it begins with a Mennonite choir on a subway platform, a fleeting moment of witness that sets her on a fascinating journey to discover why people need to believe in absolute truths and what happens when their beliefs crash into her own. Some of the people Krasnostein interviews believe in things many people do not: ghosts, UFOs, the literal creation of the universe in six days. Some believe in things most people would like to: dying with dignity and autonomy; facing up to our transgressions with truthfulness; living with integrity and compassion.

 

By turns devastating and uplifting, and captured in snapshot-vivid detail, these six profiles — a death doula, a geologist who believes the world is six thousand years old, a lecturer in neurobiology who spends his weekends ghost hunting, the fiancé of a disappeared pilot and UFO enthusiasts, a woman incarcerated for killing her husband after suffering years of domestic violence, and Mennonite families in New York — will leave you convinced that the most ordinary-seeming people are often the most remarkable and that deep and abiding commonalities can be found within the greatest differences. 

 

Vivid, unconventional, entertaining, and full of wonder, The Believer interweaves these stories with compassion and empathy, culminating in an unforgettable tour of the human condition that cuts to the core of who we are as people, and what we’re doing on this earth.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Mar 1, 2022
Specifications 416 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
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Excerpt
Written By

SARAH KRASNOSTEIN is a writer and lawyer with a doctorate in criminal law. Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, she divides her time between Melbourne and New York. Sarah’s first book, The Trauma Cleaner, won Australia’s Victorian Prize for Literature, where it was a runaway bestseller. 

Written By

SARAH KRASNOSTEIN is a writer and lawyer with a doctorate in criminal law. Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, she divides her time between Melbourne and New York. Sarah’s first book, The Trauma Cleaner, won Australia’s Victorian Prize for Literature, where it was a runaway bestseller. 

“Krasnostein’s writing is lyrical and stylish, and imaginative in a way that often feels invigorating … The Believer is a fascinating book, and one that asks big questions — about connectedness and separation, certainly, but also about love and grief, resilience and faith, and all the ways in which we situate ourselves within the world. And it is informed always by a sprawling curiosity and deep humanity, which make it an affirming, and deeply moving read.” —Guardian

Krasnostein walks a very careful line between religion and belief, with forays into both the divine and devastation. The way in which the writer brings out the humanity of … various believers is lyrical and full of images that allow the reader a glimpse into the hearts and minds of people with a passion for what they believe, even in the face of opposition from friends, family, society as a whole and, of course, factual reality.

” —Kirkus Reviews

A sympathetic inquiry into the vicissitudes of faith.

” —Kirkus Reviews

The author has the rare combination of skills that allows her to not only build enough trust and rapport with her interview subjects that they will reveal intimate details about their lives, but to also distil a person down to their essence and put that on the page in a way that is simultaneously informative, sensitive and enthralling . . . The true strength of The Believer is in each compellingly rendered story . . . Readers who liked The Trauma Cleaner or Ramona Koval’s A Letter To Layla will find much to appreciate in The Believer.

” —Books+Publishing

“This book has got me thinking far more than most. Sarah Krasnostein tells the stories of people who live in mindsets unfamiliar to her with compassion and respect … Krasnostein’s art is that she never places herself on the throne of judgment … The result is both beautiful and unpredictable. Krasnostein is neither naïve nor cynical. She is an existential adventurer.” —Sydney Morning Herald

“Transcendent, expansive writing that does the thing that many writers strive for but only few achieve: to show us humanity in clear and compassionate detail, to deepen our understanding of it and to reveal the mysterious and myriad ways in which we are all connected. It is nothing short of astounding!” —WellRead

“Krasnostein writes beautifully, and emerges as a thoughtful and compassionate observer … The Believer is, in many ways, my favourite kind of book: one that requires a little extra attention and engagement, calling on the reader as an active participant in its project of making meaning … The result is a meditative and intensely rewarding reading experience, the impact of which lingers long after the final page.” —West Australian

Sarah Krasnostein, who blew us all away with her fantastic book The Trauma Cleaner, brings her inquisitive nature and empathetic way with people to her new book The Believer … By seeking such disparate subjects, Krasnostein has woven the threads of their stories, and their very different belief systems, into a tapestry that is rich with life, love, and stories. I expect this will be running off the shelves, and deservedly so.

” —Readings

Sarah Krasnostein’s The Believer is filled with everything the world needs more of: compassion, curiosity, and tenderness. Krasnostein brilliantly shows us how to look more carefully, listen more closely, and love more expansively. A complicated, lyrical portrait of belief, meaning making, and the stories we tell that might save us.

” —Sarah Sentilles, author of Stranger Care