In an alternate universe, A Little Life would be the love-child of Hanya Yanagihara and Donna Tartt, and this is a beautiful thing. The story setup is reminiscent of The Secret History, but the language and themes are all Yanagihara. Spanning five decades, this is a hefty novel at 700 pages, but one that you will wish would never end.
Focusing on a quartet of friends who move to New York together after college, A Little Life explores themes of love, coming of age, rewarding work, passion, family, and, of course, friendship: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The tortured Jude is the main character, who has lived through hell and back, in the way that only Yanagihara can depict hell.
This book conveys such deep sorrow, pain, and hopelessness, but Yanagihara somehow makes you love those things. I am begging everyone to read this book. It broke my heart into a million tiny jagged pieces, but I loved every excruciating minute of it. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Tremendous. Devastating. Torturous. Hard-to-take hurts-your-heart scenes of the deep and dark sides of humanity. I could not stop reading this novel with its wonderful, flawless writing and memorable, haunting characters. I dare you to read A Little Life! Recommended By Adrienne C., Powells.com
Six months later, I am still thinking about this unutterably haunting and painful book filled with such love, tenderness, and kindness. The story follows four college friends into adulthood. At its core, it is about the devastating long-term effects of childhood abuse and internalized trauma and shame. Yet it is also about the exquisite power of love and friendship. Recommended By Nan S., Powells.com
A rich and detailed examination of four friends that meet in college. At the center is Jude, a lawyer with a past he doesn't talk about. He wears long sleeves in hot weather, walks with a limp, and lives with chronic pain. With steely compassion and an unflinching gaze, Yanagihara shows us how these friends interact over the years and how Jude's past continues to affect him. This is a big book with a bigger heart. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
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WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE
A MAN BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A Little Life
follows four college classmates — broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their
friendship and ambition — as they move to New York in search of fame and
fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction,
success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together
by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an
unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful
depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s
stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we
make for ourselves.
“Piercing. . . . [Yanagihara is] an author with the talent to
interrogate the basest and most beautiful extremes of human behaviour
with sustained, bruising intensity.” The Times Literary Supplement
“Exquisite. . . . The book shifts from a generational portrait to
something darker and more tender: an examination of the depths of human
cruelty, counterbalanced by the restorative powers of friendship.” The New Yorker
“The most ambitious chronicle of the social and emotional lives of gay men to have emerged for many years.” The Atlantic
“Capacious and consuming. . . . Immersive.” The Boston Globe
“Hypnotic. . . . An intimate, operatic friendship between four men.” The Economist
About the Author
Hanya Yanagihara lives in New York City.