A LITTLE LIFE - HANYA YANAGIHARA

 

Title: A Little Life

Author: Hanya Hanagihara

Published: March 2015

Genres: Literary Fiction, Contemporary, LGBT

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

 

NICKY'S REVIEW   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Once I finished, I faced two conundrums: (1) will I stop crying before I have to go out into the real world for dinner and (2) how will I articulate the philosophical tone of this powerful book in such a way to give it the necessary credit in my review. In short, it centres about four college roommates, Jude, Malcolm, Willem and JB and explores their friendship as their lives grow and change into adulthood. A simple premise, but a nothing short of an extraordinary story. This was literary genius by Hanya Yanagihara. Every word was perfectly placed and there were passages where I had to close the book to fully inhale what I just read. It achieved this by wholeheartedly complex characters and excruciatingly brilliant depiction. It tested my beliefs and knowledge on life, and reminded me of the sheer fragility of existence. This book honestly took me to a place in my heart that I did not know was there.

 

TAY'S REVIEW   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Literally and figuratively, this book was HEAVY. It covers some severely triggering and unimaginable topics. Over the course of 6 weeks, I was tossed into the world of four young men and the provocatively deep and emotional complexities embedded in their stories. I was constantly overwhelmed by the vastness of the pages and what they unpacked, and yet as soon as I finished that last page (sobbing) I realised there wasn’t a single part I wish had been omitted for the sake of a shorter book. No word in the English language will permit me to define the hardships Jude faced in his life, but I’ll never forget how excruciating it was to vicariously endure and how much I craved to scrub my skin clean after finishing some of those chapters. It’s inconceivable to me that a particular arrangement of words can have such a profound effect on my physical and emotional state. @clairemdowling DM’d me when she saw I was struggling, to simply say “Persist. It’s worth the heartache.” She was right.

 

CONTENT WARNINGS

Sexual assault, child prostitution, molestation and abuse, domestic abuse, suicide, drug abuse, disordered eating, self-harm.

 

BONUS CONTENT

 

Article about the stage adaption: NYTimes - A Little Life Comes to The Stage. The Audience Can't Look Away

Article: Mindjoggle - The Story About the Story - 15 Things You Didn't Know About 'A Little Life'.

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