A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
Genres: Literary Fiction, Contemporary.
Release Date: August 13th 2015.
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.
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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
Book Review ~ ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara ~ 5 Stars!
A brilliantly written book, and well-deserving of its place on the 2015 Man Booker Shortlist, ‘A Little Life’ is a hefty tome, but one that tells the most heartbreaking and realistic of stories. This is a book that will consume you from beginning to end.
Did I enjoy it? Well, as much as you can enjoy reading about such a traumatic life, then; Yes. But this book is not meant to be enjoyable, and I think it’s important that any reader goes into this book, knowing that it is not one to laugh along with, it is one that will be giving you the strongest of messages.
This book is told over a period of 30+ years. It doesn’t start with childhood, as many novels that follow this narrative type do, instead it starts at the beginning of Jude’s new life. Jude is the character that the story follows, and you learn as you read follow the lives of the four university friends, that the person that brings them all together in some way, is Jude. His past is a traumatic one, and his present is just as painful, being haunted by the memories of his past, but this novel shows the true strength of friendship.
The story took twists and turns that I was not expecting, and throughout you can feel the tension and darkness rising within Jude, Wilhelm, Malcom and JB as they go through the ups and downs of life, career and love. There is depictions of love so strong that it can save a person, and loneliness that can ultimately break them.
A thoroughly brilliant read, but not an enjoyable one. And that is in no way a criticism, in fact it is a compliment. There are not many books that can be so stressful, so painful to read, but that you are so engrossed in that you have to read to the end. The pain of this novel, and its strength too is what you should read it for, and you will not regret it.
*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2015
The Winner will be announced on Tuesday 13th October 2015.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
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