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Cover image for A little life : a novel
Format:
Title:
A little life : a novel
ISBN:
9780385539258

9780804172707

9781447294818
Edition:
First edition.
Publication:
New York : Doubleday, [2015]
Physical Description:
720 pages ; 25 cm
Contents:
"When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition ... Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is [their center of gravity] Jude ... by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome -- but that will define his life forever" -- Amazon.com.
Summary:
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome -- but that will define his life forever.
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Yanagihara
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FICTION - YANAGIHARA
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FIC YANAGIHARA 2015
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YANAGIHARA
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FICTION YANAGIHARA
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Yanagihara, H.
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FIC YANAGIHARA
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YANAGIHARA Hanya
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Yanagihara, H.
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On Order

Summary

Summary

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

SHORT-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement--and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring act∨ JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome--but that will define his life forever.

In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.


Author Notes

Hanya Yanagihara was born in 1975 in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of Smith College. She has worked as a publicist, a writer and editor for Conde Nast Traveler, and a deputy editor for T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Her novels include The People in the Trees and A Little Life, which won the Kirkus Prize for fiction in 2015. A Little Life also won Fiction Book of the Year from the 2016 British Book Industry Awards.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Yanagihara follows her 2013 debut novel, The People in the Trees, with an epic American tragedy. The story begins with four college friends moving to New York City to begin their careers: architect Malcolm, artist JB, actor Willem, and lawyer Jude. Early on, their concerns are money and job related as they try to find footholds in their respective fields. Over the course of the book, which spans three decades, we witness their highs and lows as they face addiction, deception, and abuse, and their relationships falter and strengthen. The focus narrows as the story unspools-and really, this is Jude's story. Unlike his friends, who have largely ordinary lives, Jude has a horrific trauma in his past, and his inner demons are central to the story. Throughout the years, Jude struggles to keep his terrible childhood secret and to trust those who love him. He cuts himself and contemplates suicide, even as his career flourishes and his friends support him. This is a novel that values the everyday over the extraordinary, the push and pull of human relationships-and the book's effect is cumulative. There is real pleasure in following characters over such a long period, as they react to setbacks and successes, and, in some cases, change. By the time the characters reach their 50s and the story arrives at its moving conclusion, readers will be attached and find them very hard to forget. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professionsas an architect, painter, actor and lawyerand struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives. Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don't share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and "Jude's race was undetermined"deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery. Two of them are straight, one is bisexual, and Jude, whose youth was unspeakably traumatic in a way that's revealed slowly over the course of the book, is gay. There isn't a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn't much plot. There aren't even many markers of what's happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don't see the neighborhood change from gritty artists' enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends' psyches and relationships, and it's utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other's affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life. The phrase "tour de force" could have been invented for this audacious novel. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

This long, claustrophobically written novel by the author of The People in the Trees (2013) follows the lives of four college men (and their many friends, nearly all male) from their early postgraduation days in New York through much of their accomplished adult lives, and backward to their childhoods. It opens with them helping Willem and the fragile Jude St. Francis move into an apartment on Lispenard Street and then delineates the course of their lives. They include Malcolm, a light-skinned African American architect from a wealthy background; JB, an occasional drug-using artist of Haitian ancestry (the author does a great job of describing his art no easy task); Willem, the handsome actor who, as we first meet him, is, of course, waiting tables downtown; and, at center stage, Jude. Although Jude is a successful litigator, his full background is murky, though what we do learn about it is horrific. Jude is frail, vulnerable, private, and given to cutting himself. In his neediness, he is the focus of the others' existence. This profoundly disturbing book is about pain and compulsion, secrets and betrayals, sexuality and loss but, finally, about friendship.--Levine, Mark Copyright 2015 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

EMPIRE OF DECEPTION: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation, by Dean Jobb. (Algonquin, $16.95.) In 1920s Chicago, Leo Koretz defrauded hundreds of people (including members of his own family) and lured them to invest millions of dollars in bogus overseas projects. Jobb's rollicking history of the con man doubles as a sobering reminder that, as our reviewer, Paula Uruburu, said, "those who think everything is theirs for the taking are destined to be taken." GOD HELP THE CHILD, by Toni Morrison. (Vintage, $14.95.) Even as a baby, Bride, the character at the heart of this story, was spurned by her parents because of her dark skin, and her cold upbringing reverberates throughout her adult life. The novel, which our reviewer, Kara Walker, called "a brisk modern-day fairy tale with shades of the Brothers Grimm," delivers a blunt moral: "What you do to children matters." THERE WAS AND THERE WAS NOT: A Journey Through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond, by Meline Toumani. (Picador/Metropolitan/Holt, $18.) Growing up in an Armenian community in New Jersey, Toumani was steeped in fierce anti-Turkish rhetoric revolving around the genocide that began in 1915. As an adult, she moved to Istanbul to better understand the Turkish view. Her memoir recounts her years living amid an alternate understanding of history. A LITTLE LIFE, by Hanya Yanagihara. (Anchor, $17.) This expansive novel is an exploration of heartbreak and the limits of human resilience. Yanagihara's central character, Jude, emerges from a brutal childhood and builds an ostensibly successful life - he graduates with a law degree from Harvard, finds meaningful work as a litigator and is the heart of a close-knit group of friends - yet struggles to reconcile his past traumas. OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776, by Richard R. Beeman. (Basic Books, $18.99.) American independence from Britain may seem to have been an inevitable outcome, but Beeman offers a window into a time when that future was not so certain. His account follows the 22 months when delegates from the colonies, often with no more in common with one another than their status as British subjects, imagined a cohesive nation and identity. OUTLAWS, by Javier Cercas. Translated by Anne McLean. (Bloomsbury, $18.) In the late 1970s, when teenage gangs roamed post-Franco Spain, this novel's narrator, Ignacio Cañas, joined a group headed by a notorious outlaw, Zarco, but left after a failed robbery. Years later, Cañas is a successful lawyer and Zarco is in jail, but the men's lives intersect again. STALIN. VOLUME I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, by Stephen Kotkin. (Penguin, $25.) This book, the first of a projected three-volume study, recounts Stalin's childhood in Georgia and subsequent rise to power. Kotkin's account also delivers an impressive history of late imperial Russia.


Library Journal Review

Yanagihara follows her debut novel, The People in the Trees, with a deceptively simple tale of four male friends, Jude, Willem, Malcolm, and JB, who meet during their college years at Ivy League institutions. The men choose to continue their journeys into adulthood together by relocating jointly to New York. As they sustain their friendships into their fifties, the author delivers tales of their loyalty, love, and support for one another. However, lying beneath the surface is an emotionally disturbing story line about Jude, a highly successful lawyer and the brightest of the four men. The horrors of Jude's victimization during his youth by the brothers of a monastery and his eventual abduction by Brother Luke, a pedophile and pimp, force him to struggle relentlessly with inner demons and a deep-seated distrust of others, with his pain manifested in constant acts of cutting. VERDICT As in her previous novel, Yanagihara fearlessly broaches difficult topics while simultaneously creating an environment that her audience will find caring and sensitive. Not all readers will embrace this work, given its intense subject. However, for those strong of stomach or bold enough to follow the characters' road of friendship, this heartbreaking story certainly won't be easily forgotten.-Shirley Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.