A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (5/5)

Posted August 8, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (5/5)A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Picador on August 13th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General
Pages: 720
Format: Paperback
View on Goodreads

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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this book in a GoodReads giveaway. This is a book which is not always easy to read, but which is ultimately very rewarding. A friend of mine commented “I’m not yet over this book” – and that’s a very good way of summing up the experience. It stays with you for a long time and demands to be reviewed long after you’ve finished reading it.

The blurb states that it’s about 4 friends from college. In reality it’s about one – Jude St Francis – and his relationship with his 3 close friends from college and other friends. Jude is a seriously damaged young man, who has had a terrible upbringing, The story of his life is revealed through a series of flash-backs and conversations throughout the book.

The book is uncluttered by details. There’s no references to political or newsworthy events (e.g 9/11) and there’s no real placing of time on the story either. Only a sense of place (mainly Boston and New York). I liked this lack of distraction and it helped focus me on the details of the story.

My one criticism would be that sometimes it was hard to tell whose voice was being used for the chapter. The characters are predominantly male, and it was hard to pick up which “he” was being discussed sometimes. But overall this was a brilliant book and I loved it.

It’s definitely a book which I think will benefit from a second reading as well – so this will be staying with me for a little longer.


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