I reviewed this book on the ABC radio program ‘Overnights’ in May 2016, contact me if you’d like to hear the full review (:
“He will be someone who is defined, first and always, by what he is missing.”
―Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
This is a novel take keep on your radar! Yanagihara is an up and coming American novelist and this is her second novel. A lot of publicity has been surrounding this book recently as she was a key speaker at the Sydney Writer’s Festival this year.
Time is very elastic, sometimes it moves quickly (almost too fast, you feel like you’ve skipped a page) and other times she dwells on an evening page after page after page. Ironically, Yanighara has the intense structure for the book- 3 parts, 3 sections within these parts and then 3 sub-sections (that I actually had to go back and look over after heard her explain)
This is a reason I think she chose New York. It’s the only city where the characters could have both raging success and anonymity. The fantastical quality of “if you can make it hear you can make it anywhere” gives the sense of hope to the characters that she couldn’t get if she’d chosen a smaller, less cosmopolitan city
The ending felt incredibly satisfying, not tied up neatly like other books that deal with these kind of issues but instead like the story had reached fruition
This book is not for the faint hearted. Yanagihara mentioned in a review that it’s not an author’s responsibility to make her readers feel good, her job is simply to tell a story no matter how challenging that story is. In fact, Yanagihara even received some hate mail from readers saying the story has too much saddness. No matter how you feel about the book, one thing that cannot be denied is Yanagihara’s ability to get a reaction!