2015 Reading Challenge, Book 32: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I was intrigued by the hoo-haa aorund this book, the suggestion that it might be somewhat extreme, also by a few reviews on amazon that suggested the things suffered by the character Jude were excessive and therefore unrealistic. That latter is patently nonsense, but I wanted to form my own opinion and to see if the novel was as brutal as The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. It is not. Not even close. However, it is an incredible, absorbing, beautifully written literary work. (NB: I am not macabre, I did not read this hoping to be horrified, I read it hoping to see the subjects dealt with sensitively but truthfully, and they were – they are in THIDAAT too, but that one is much harder going)

A Little Life follow four college friends, Willem, JB, Malcolm and Jude as they grow up, form careers and relationships and struggle their way though life. It handles many truly horrific subjects with sensitivity whilst never turning away from the brutal effects wrought in the lives of those who suffer them, primarily Jude. Whilst this is the story of four young men, it is mainly Jude’s story and it will break your heart.

I adored this book, it’s more than 700 pages long and I devoured it in a day. It made me laugh, sob and swear, and I became so intrinsically bound into the lives of these men they felt absolutely real to me. I knew them. I know them. I could not recommend this book highly enough, although I will say it’s quite triggering so tread carefully.

You can buy this book in the UK here

And in the US here


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