Reposting this 2016 review from Bookwi.se contributor Vikki Huisman because the Kindle Edition is on sale today for $4.99 (Audible.com Audiobook is $4.99 with purchase of Kindle Edition.)
The opening chapters of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara seem pretty straight forward. Characters graduate from college, work at entry level jobs for low pay, live in crappy apartments and stay friends as they navigate adulthood together. I thought I knew what I was getting into with this book but gradually, the author took me deeper and deeper into a beautiful and tragic story.
Four young men are graduates of the same university and starting building lives for themselves. Willem, Jude, Malcolm and JB are as different as they can be but they are tightly bound to each other for life. Willem is an up and coming actor. Malcolm is a budding architect. JB is a talented artist.
And then there’s Jude.
Jude is a brilliant attorney whose life before college is a complete and utter mystery to his friends. Bit by bit throughout the course of this 716 page novel, Yanagihara gradually reveals pieces of Jude’s past. The reader knows from Jude’s introduction that his life has been one of pain. I want to give you a synopsis of Jude and his backstory, but I truly feel to do so would rob you of the rich experience Yanagihara has created. The process of discovery is important to enjoying A Little Life.
A Little Life is not at all what you expect as you enter the beginning pages. Hanya Yanagihara patiently and subtly brings Jude to the forefront of the story and the reader will find themselves completely emotionally invested in his life. As a reader, your heart will genuinely ache for Jude. I haven’t had an experience like this with a novel in a very long time.
It’s a brilliant piece.