A Little Life
By Hanya Yanagihara
(Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385539258, March 2015, 736pp.)
The Short of It:
This story will shatter you into a million little pieces but you need to read it anyway.
The Rest of It:
This isn’t the type of book where there is a huge plot reveal but not knowing its true subject does lend a rather precarious nature to the reading experience. Because of that, I won’t go into what the book is really about.
What I will say, is that it’s a book about friendships and relationships and the pain that comes with knowing that it’s impossible to really know everything about a person, no matter how close you are to them.
The book spans three decades and follows the lives of four men, all friends from college. We see them at their best, and their worst. There’s Malcolm, an architect of sorts, Willem, an up and coming actor, JB, a self-absorbed but extremely talented artist and Jude, a brilliant attorney who happens to be the center of the story.
Jude is damaged by the events of the past, but he’s struggling to realize his self-worth and it’s a brutal struggle to witness. There’s pain, lots of it, heart wrenching events that will twist your stomach into knots, but the writing! It’s so damn beautiful. I read it on my Kindle and every other paragraph is highlighted because I just couldn’t stand to leave the page without marking its passage in some way.
I loved every minute I spent with this book. It’s over 700 pages long and usually, I set my reading at a good pace to finish in a reasonable amount of time, but not with this one. This one I lingered on for a long, long time.
It’s by far, the best book I’ve read this year and as soon as I turned that last page, I wanted to run out and buy a physical copy just to admire it on the shelf. THAT COVER though. Don’t click on that link unless you want a hint at what some of it’s about. It’s an image that can mean many things and let me tell you, it does.
Have I completely scared you now? I hope not because it’s really such a wonderful book and I will continue to sing its praises until someone tells me to stop.
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