The Believers is the third novel from Zoe Heller - it seems likely to feature in prize lists later in the year. Heller was born in London in 1965 and educated at Oxford University and Columbia University, New York. She is a journalist who, after writing book reviews for various newspapers, became a feature writer for The Independent. She wrote a weekly confessional column for the Sunday Times for four years, and subsequently wrote for the Daily Telegraph, winning the title 'Columnist of the Year' in 2002. She is the author of two novels: Everything You Know (2000), a dark comedy about misanthropic writer Willy Miller, and Notes on a Scandal (2003) which tells the story of an affair between a high school teacher and her student through the eyes of the teacher's supposed friend, Barbara Covett. It was shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker Prize for fiction, and subsequently released as a feature film, starring Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench. Zoe Heller lives in New York.
When New York radical lawyer Joel Litvinoff falls gravely ill, his wife Audrey uncovers a secret that forces her to re-examine both her belief in him and her commitment to their forty-year marriage. Meanwhile, her adopted son Lenny is back on drugs again and her daughters, Karla and Rosa, are grappling with their own catastrophes and dilemmas. Rosa, a disillusioned revolutionary socialist, has found herself increasingly beguiled by the world of Orthodox Judaism; now she is being pressed to make a commitment and must decide if she is really ready to forsake all her cherished secular values for a Torah-observant life. Karla, an unhappily married hospital social worker and union activist, falls into a tumultuous affair with a conservative shop-keeper: can she really love a man whose politics she reviles? And how to choose between a life of duty and principle and her own happiness?
Everything you know (Viking, 2000)
Notes on a scandal (Viking, 2003)
The Believers (Fig Tree, 2008)