SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2015
"Astonishing and unsettling ... A masterwork" San Francisco Chronicle
"A book that demands to be read." Wall Street Journal
The million copy bestseller, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.
When four graduates 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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.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.
ACCLAIM FOR A LITTLE LIFE
Shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction 2016
Winner of The Kirkus Prize 2015
Finalist for the National Book Awards 2015
"Transporting . . . A Little Life is not to be missed." Evening Standard
"The first must-read novel of the year" Kirkus
"A singularly profound and moving work . . . It's not often that you read a book of this length and find yourself thinking "I wish it was longer" but Yanagihara takes you so deeply into the lives and minds of these characters that you struggle to leave them behind." The Times
"Makes for near-hypnotically compelling reading, a vivid, hyperreal portrait of human existence that demands intense emotional investment . . . An astonishing achievement: a novel of grand drama and sentiment, but it's a canvas Yanagihara has painted with delicate, subtle brushstrokes." Independent
"Utterly compelling . . . quite an extraordinary novel. It is impossible to put down . . . And it is almost impossible to forget." Daily Express
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A Little Life will stun you and break your heart. After graduating from an elite university, four young men navigate the ambitions and distractions of life in New York City. Hanya Yanagihara slowly fills out the outlines of her characters: Malcolm, JB, Willem and Jude; and the effect is like watching a gifted painter toil over a complicated canvas. As this dense novel zeroes in on Jude and his horrific upbringing, we experience an overwhelming desire to step into the story and comfort the brilliant, quietly suffering lawyer, to counteract the unfathomable cruelties he’s endured. That’s how lifelike this novel is, and how exceptionally powerful.
Yanagihara follows her 2013 debut novel, The People in the Trees, with an epic American tragedy. The story begins with four college friends moving to New York City to begin their careers: architect Malcolm, artist JB, actor Willem, and lawyer Jude. Early on, their concerns are money and job related as they try to find footholds in their respective fields. Over the course of the book, which spans three decades, we witness their highs and lows as they face addiction, deception, and abuse, and their relationships falter and strengthen. The focus narrows as the story unspools and really, this is Jude's story. Unlike his friends, who have largely ordinary lives, Jude has a horrific trauma in his past, and his inner demons are central to the story. Throughout the years, Jude struggles to keep his terrible childhood secret and to trust those who love him. He cuts himself and contemplates suicide, even as his career flourishes and his friends support him. This is a novel that values the everyday over the extraordinary, the push and pull of human relationships and the book's effect is cumulative. There is real pleasure in following characters over such a long period, as they react to setbacks and successes, and, in some cases, change. By the time the characters reach their 50s and the story arrives at its moving conclusion, readers will be attached and find them very hard to forget.
I dont have the words
What a devastating yet brilliant masterpiece.
Featured far too much gratuitous self harm. Repetitive and overly long. Lacked storyline. Felt like a punish to read.
Brutal but powerful
I’d read some positive and negative reviews of this book before exploring it myself and after having read it, I am firmly in the camp of positive. This book will change you - it will change the way you perceive success, it will teach you empathy for abused or recalcitrant youngsters, it will show you what unconditional love looks like through the darkest hours. Yes it’s a hard, brutal, long read, and sometimes the detail that the author dives into seems pointless but the story is beautiful and I can only hope love as described in this book exists in reality. The naysayers will harp on about the unrealistic nature of parts of the book. Well to them I say, it’s fiction after all, and through her fiction, if the author can affect me this much emotionally, I would say it’s a success.