A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. It is the story of four friends - Jude, Malcolm, Willem, and JB. JB is creative, Malcolm understanding, Willem is kind, and Jude's past is shrouded in mystery. Their friendship begins in college and continues through early and mid-adulthood. Each one struggles, and the impact of love, loss, and trauma is felt on their relationships.
The first half of the book is promising, with detailed descriptions and in-depth character building. But, this book is long - 720 pages long. Eventually, much of the plot becomes repetitive, and many instances in the book are almost hard to read because of their graphic nature. In addition to this, it felt like the gay characters existed only to suffer, which is a trope that is long drawn-out.
The writing in the book is spectacular. The author has the skill of allowing the reader to dive into the world of the story. This, of course, is one of the greatest joys of reading a book. Unfortunately, the characters suffer so much, that it makes one wonder how much is too much? Personally, a lot of the scenes felt almost unreadable.
A Little Life has received critical acclaim, and rightly so. It is one of those books that feels almost revolutionary. Nevertheless, it also has the power to divide opinions. Although it isn't a personal favourite, this book is for someone with patience and the ability to stomach the most in the stories they read.