Major powerhouse of a book

A Little Life: A Novel - Hanya Yanagihara

This story of the strong bond of friendship between four men, Jude, Willem, JB and Malcolm, is a major powerhouse of a book.  It will pull you apart emotionally as you read of all the tragedy that Jude has had to endure and his tremendous struggle to heal his wounds as he hides them from the world.  The book explores the life-long effects child abuse can have on a person and how terribly it can warp their sense of themselves and their relationships with others.  It also explores whether friendship can be as good a relationship as marriage or possibly even better.


As dark and tragic as this book is, there is so much beauty in it.   I grew to love each of the characters in this book and suffered when they suffered and rejoiced when they rejoiced.  I find this book to be a hard one to review as it isn’t so much as what happens in the book as how the author presents it and how she opens up your heart with her story.  And that’s very hard to put into words.  The strength of the novel lies in how the author connects you to her characters.  I was completely consumed by this book.


As for the title of the book, “A Little Life”, I read a quote by the author that tells much about her view of life – “All life is small.  Life will end in death and unhappiness but we do it anyway”.  She sounds like a tragedian at heart and this book of hers definitely shows that. 


This is a literary masterpiece that I will never forget.  Most highly recommended.