A Little Life

  • Type: Ebooks
  • By: Hanya Yanagihara
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: General Fiction
  • Recommended by: Morgan D.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780385539265
  • Check Catalog

Art out of melodrama: a heart-rending chiaroscuro of radiant joy and abject misery

Hanya Yanagihara is not interested in "little" lives, or "little" emotions: she wrings art out of melodrama, and in this doorstop of a novel, every character lives in either opulence or squalor; feels radiant joy or abject misery.
 
It's the story of a closely-knit group of college friends: Jude, Willem, Malcolm, and JB, who spend decades in and around a New York that is weirdly timeless (she writes like it's always been, and always will be, 2015). The boys grow into exceptional men, at the top of their fields, famous and beloved and wealthy. But Jude, at the heart of the story, has a shockingly dark past that haunts his brilliant present: it's doled out in almost unbearable flashbacks of painful abuse that make later scenes of sparkling parties with beautiful people feel like the bitterest satire.
 
More so than in her (quite good, quite difficult) debut novel, The People in the Trees, Yanagihara shows that she can care about her characters, and write them with great tenderness and complexity even as she tears them to pieces before your eyes.