A novel of extraordinary intelligence and heart, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark and haunting examination of the tyranny of experience and memory.
Hanya Yanagihara is the author of The People in the Trees. She is an editor-at-large at Conde Nast Traveller and lives in New York City.
A singularly profound and moving work . . . It's not often that you
read a book of this length and find yourself thinking "I wish it
was longer" but Yanagihara takes you so deeply into the lives and
minds of these characters that you struggle to leave them behind. *
The Times *
A Little Life makes for near-hypnotically compelling reading, a vivid, hyperreal portrait of human existence that demands intense emotional investment . . . An astonishing achievement: a novel of grand drama and sentiment, but it's a canvas Yanagihara has painted with delicate, subtle brushstrokes. * Independent *
One of the pleasures of fiction is how suddenly a brilliant writer can alter the literary landscape . . . Ms. Yanagihara's immense new book . . . announces her, as decisively as a second work can, as a major American novelist. Here is an epic study of trauma and friendship written with such intelligence and depth of perception that it will be one of the benchmarks against which all other novels that broach those subjects (and they are legion) will be measured. * Wall Street Journal *
How often is a novel so deeply disturbing that you might find yourself weeping, and yet so revelatory about human kindness that you might also feel touched by grace? Yanagihara's astonishing and unsettling second novel . . . plumbs the rich inner lives of all of her characters... You don't just care deeply about all these lives. Thanks to the author's exquisite skill, you feel as if you are living them . . . A Little Life is about the unimaginable cruelty of human beings, the savage things done to a child and his lifelong struggle to overcome the damage. Its pages are soaked with grief, but it's also about the bottomless human capacity for love and endurance . . . It's not hyperbole to call this novel a masterwork - if anything that word is simply just too little for it * San Francisco Chronicle *
Martin Amis once asked, "Who else but Tolstoy has made happiness really swing on the page?" And the surprising answer is that Hanya Yanagihara has: counterintuitively, the most moving parts of "A Little Life" are not its most brutal but its tenderest ones, moments when Jude receives kindness and support from his friends . . . A Little Life feels elemental, irreducible-and, dark and disturbing though it is, there is beauty in it * New Yorker *
Utterly compelling . . . quite an extraordinary novel. It is impossible to put down . . . And it is almost impossible to forget. * Daily Express *
A darkly beautiful tale of love and friendship... I've read a lot of emotionally taxing books in my time, but A Little Life . . . is the only one I've read as an adult that's left me sobbing. I became so invested in the characters and their lives that I almost felt unqualified to review this book objectively . . . There are truths here that are almost too much to bear - that hope is a qualified thing, that even love, no matter how pure and freely given, is not always enough. This book made me realize how merciful most fiction really is, even at its darkest, and it's a testament to Yanagihara's ability that she can take such ugly material and make it beautiful * Los Angeles Times *
Capacious and consuming . . . Boast[s] a scale and immersive power to rival the recent epics of Donna Tartt and Elizabeth Gilbert . . . Alternately devastating and draining, A Little Life floats all sorts of troubling questions about the responsibility of the individual to those nearest and dearest and the sometime futility of playing brother's keeper. Those questions, accompanied by Yanagihara's exquisitely imagined characters, will shadow your dreamscapes * Boston Globe *
Astonishing . . . tender, torturous and achingly alive to the undeniable pain that can scar a life. * Psychologies *
A Little Life asks serious questions about humanism and euthanasia and psychiatry and any number of the partis pris of modern western life. It's Entourage directed by Bergman; it's the great 90s novel a quarter of a century too late; it's a devastating read that will leave your heart, like the Grinch's, a few sizes larger. -- Alex Preston * Observer *