This book tore me up. There were times when I could only read a few pages, and then I had to put it aside. There were times when I couldn't return to it for days. So why am I suggesting that you take up such a challenging, and at times, devastating read? Because it deals so beautifully and thoughtfully with the matters of the heart. The inestimable value of friendship, how we learn to trust, our sometimes misguided efforts to understand each other. It's about debilitating messages learned in our youth, messages that we cling to with tenacity despite all the evidence of their untruth. It's about the ongoing process of trying to know ourselves. There is so much here, consummately written. I was blown away.— Walt
Warning: this book is likely to devastate you. Don't write it off so quickly, however. As heartbreaking as this book is, A Little Life is also a book that is not likely to leave your thoughts while you're reading it or after long after you've finished. Hanya Yanagihara has crafted her characters in a masterful--yet flawed--manner. Her prose alone will keep you hooked through all 800+ pages and you are sure to be kept on your toes as you progress through the lives of four friends who met in college. A Little Life explores what it is to be human, and although treacherous, is well worth the read.— Heather H.
March '15 Indie Next List
“With heartaching perfection, Yanagihara follows four college roommates through three decades of relationships, careers, struggles, and triumphs. She opens episodic windows into the worlds of JB, Malcolm, Willem, and Jude - the artist, the architect, the actor, and the lawyer. At the novel's heart is Jude, the group's emotional epicenter and its eternal mystery who is determined to keep his past hidden and to shoulder its terrible effects on the present. A Little Life is a deeply felt journey through friendship, love, trust, and hurt that immerses the reader so fully each character becomes a friend and the intricacies of their lives are sorely missed after the last page is turned.”
— Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
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 publisher.
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.