Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize
Long-listed for the National Book Award for Fiction
Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the 21st century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow, improbably, breaks through into the light.
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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
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.
Cover photograph by The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC, Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
"Yanagihara's immense new book, A Little Life, announces her, as decisively as a second work can, as a major American novelist." (The Wall Street Journal)
"Yanagihara’s novel can...drive you mad, consume you, and take over your life. Like the axiom of equality, A Little Life feels elemental, irreducible - and, dark and disturbing though it is, there is beauty in it." (The New Yorker)
"Yanagihara has drawn a deeply realized character study that inspires as much as devastates. It’s a life, just like everyone else's, but in Yanagihara’s hands, it’s also tender and large, affecting and transcendent; not a little life at all." (The Washington Post)
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Great story and great narrator!
- Oliver B
out of tragedy comes compassion
- wendy de feydeau