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The Believer (Sarah Krasnostein, Text)

The people who populate The Believer are remarkably different from one another. There are, among others, a convicted murderer, a ‘death doula’, paranormal investigators, and Christian researchers who have dedicated their lives to the teaching of creationism. Sarah Krasnostein’s follow up to The Trauma Cleaner is the result of four years of research and interviews that took her across Australia and the US. 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. In theory, the different interviews are loosely tethered by the themes of love, death and faith—but this is a wide net and even then some of the subjects feel like they don’t quite fit in this framework. Any disconnect is of little consequence, however, because the true strength of The Believer is in each compellingly rendered story, not in what they say together. Forcing a big-picture conclusion on this work would do a disservice to Krasnostein’s portrait of the chaos that is the shared human experience, which is drawn out person-by-person, interview-by-interview. Readers who liked The Trauma Cleaner or Ramona Koval’s A Letter To Layla will find much to appreciate in The Believer.

Elizabeth Flux is a freelance writer and editor.

 

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