By Lisa Schwarzbaum
March 17, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Believers

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In The Believers, the setting is post-9/11 New York. And while celebrity lawyer Joel Litvinoff lies in a stroke-induced coma, his wife, three grown kids, and various significant others gather to — well, to be themselves. Each self-involved, status-conscious character in this marvelous, bighearted, gimlet-eyed novel is committed to this, that, or the other worldview, and is rightfully deserving of skewering — and compassion. But then, aren’t we all, in our fumbling search for identity? Zoë Heller, the author of What Was She Thinking?, grants the Litvinoffs the dignity of wearing their political and religious (or antireligious) beliefs like sacred amulets. Or is it fashionable costume jewelry? A

The Believers

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