Hello and welcome to ‘Map Monday’. This was inspired by the current pandemic and lockdowns and the inability to travel. I will share one book each week with you that is set somewhere different to where I live. I’ll chat a bit about the book and throw some interesting facts out there about the place. I hope you enjoy travelling through books with me…
This week I’ve picked The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai – which is set in Chicago and Paris but as I’ve already done a Paris post this week we are focusing on Chicago!
In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup: bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, he finds his partner is infected, and that he might even have the virus himself. The only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.
Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona’s stories unfold in incredibly moving and sometimes surprising ways, as both struggle to find goodness in the face of disaster.
Interesting Facts about Chicago:
- Chicago is in Illinois and is the third largest city in the U.S.
- It is home to an estimated 2.7M residents.
- Nicknames for the city include: The Windy City, City of Big Shoulders, The Second City, The White City, and The City That Works.
- The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed many square miles and made more than 100,000 people homeless.
- The city was founded in the early 1700s. It was founded to create a canal to let boats on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River..
- In 2019, Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor, making Chicago the largest city in the country to have a female, African-American, and LGBT+ mayor.
- Sports are a big part of the cultural life in Chicago. Chicago is home to 15 sports teams.
- Apparently, Chicago has the most Polish people inside its city limits outside of Warsaw.
- Some of the many things Chicago is famous for are: Chicago-style hot dogs, Chicago-style (deep dish) pizza, jazz music, and 1920s gangstas, for example Al Capone.
- Chicago is the home of the Twinkie – created by Jimmy Dewar.
- In 1937, Chicago became the first city to establish a blood bank in the US.