A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 

By  BookishBearx

So, A Little life is in no way little. My copy spans 720 pages and took me a couple of weeks to read. It’s a lot of pages and small font. But, don’t let that phase you. It is a contemporary fiction novel that focus’ heavily on issues such as mental health, sexual assault, child abuse and also lgbt relationships and sexuality. First published  by Doubleday in March 2015, it has been nominated for a variety of awards and prizes including The Man Booker Prize 2015. I’ll pop the synopsis below as normal.. 

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sometimes cruel painter pursuing fame in the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.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 realise, is Jude himself; by mid-life terrifyingly talented lawyer yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by a degree of trauma that he fears he will not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

In a novel of extraordinary intelligence and heart, Yanagihara has fashioned a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark and haunting examination of tyranny of experience and memory.

taken from the 3rd page of the book.

I don’t even know how to tell you about this book. I am crying just think about the book, what happens in it and the different ways that it made me feel. What I can say, is that it is astonishingly beautiful and near perfect. It is the best book I think that I have ever read. But also the most traumatic. This one book has left me feeling lost and sad, it made me feel heartbreak and sickness, it made me feel wonder and it made me smile and laugh and sob and shocked. So many emotions. It hit so dead and I honestly don’t think I will ever come across another book like it.

The characters are so beautifully put together, you want to know them. To have them as your friends. You want to protect Jude in the truly horrific moments, and celebrate with Willem when he succeeds and so on. Their progression and growth throughout the book is impeccable too. A Little Life is a book that confused me to read, as it was often highly traumatic, full of real tragedy. But it is put together so beautifully and artistically that you cannot but help be in awe of it and get pulled into the pages and the characters that lie within it.

I could not recommend this book enough. I would say it isn’t suitable for everyone. There are some very difficult and graphic scenes throughout that can be very difficult to read. I would definitely advise to read with caution but, if you can definitely give this a go. It truly is a special book and a true work of art. It is beautiful and heartbreaking and just utterly perfect.

Star Rating /5


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