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A Little Life: Shortlisted for the Man…

A Little Life: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015 (original 2015; edition 2016)

by Hanya Yanagihara (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,1302072,819 (4.09)1 / 222
"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.… (more)
Title:A Little Life: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015
Authors:Hanya Yanagihara (Author)
Info:Picador (2016), Edition: Main Market Ed.
Collections:Your library

Work details

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015)

  1. 10
    The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Another group of lifelong friends followed over the decades.
  2. 00
    The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk, and At Last by Edward St Aubyn (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Another book about child abuse, although this one is also about substance abuse.

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English (195)  Dutch (8)  Piratical (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (207)
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
Five stars is not enough. A brilliant book with characters truly coming alive thrpugh the writing. It is a hard read - not due to the style of writing but due to the emotional rollercoaster the story brings you along on. I usually read books that hooks me in a short span of time; this book I had to let rest for quite some time after some specific parts in order to process the story. These people - all the main characters of the story - will stay with me for a long time. ( )
  Piggelin | Jan 2, 2020 |
Finished the book. Felt oppressed by it. Very heavy indeed. Unrelentingly bleak. I still don't quite know what to make of it months later. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Dec 31, 2019 |
Hmm, this was just not for me. Apart from Harold and Julia I thought all of the characters were so unrealistic.
This is a dark depressing book, really about pedophillia, fantastical live styles and little else. ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
The book suffers terribly from image overload. It rambles obsequiously into destruction. Harold is the leader of the army, an army spiraling from vivid atmosphere into ephemeral void upon void. This novel, despite its colorful cast of characters, is incredibly too long and too desperate. There is some merit for the author's word usage. It's great in terms of exposing new readers to uncharted territory. If you love writing awash with em-dashes, semicolons, phrases, and infinitives, you'll chuckle at how this author succeeds with that. If you're a reader who wants your postmodern prose to be less maudlin and more intentional, read something else. The novel could have been better structured. The episodic collection frame was unwelcome to me. Was I reading a novel, a script, or an epistle?

There were times when I didn't know which. That distinction forced me to turn my attention to other novels before completing this one. The irony here: I felt my self saying: "I have too much of a life to get through this "little life" here." And Jude St. Francis's life is anything but little. His life is far more significant than we know. Jude is an albatross that siphons the magic from all other more insightful characters. Jude is like the guest within the narrative that never leaves. And when he does leave, the novel grinds to dust like a fine powder resembling a narcotic.

The idea that it's a GLBT novel is somewhat appalling to me. I began the novel having compassion for Jude St. Francis, but the compassion morphs into a ruddy, contemptible, and permanent state of strife. As an English scholar, I feel the need to revise significant portions of this book. The abnormally wide swaths of death near the novel's conclusion reveal a narrative too convoluted, and too ill-focused.

I give it three stars because it pleads for attention, consideration, and approval. It's not bad, but it struggles to be excellent. And I feel betrayed slightly that I wasted time for the ending I got. I have questions about the ending, but unlike most postmodern novels I've read I don't feel empowered know anything more than what's written. And if I did want to know about the perceived gaps in this book, I want to know far more about Harold, Richard---and anyone else but not Jude.

( )
  HaroldMillican | Dec 15, 2019 |
This book rocked me, sometimes painfully, which has made me feel conflicted over recommending it to others. I finished it about two weeks ago and have been feeling like I've been in actual grieving over how it ends. But for me, it was beautiful and powerful, the best book I've read in years and one that has changed the way I'll read coming-of-age stories and novels about New Yorkers. ( )
  awlavallee | Dec 14, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
I'm still talking about A Little Life. It's deeply upsetting, but I think it's a wonderfull story in the end.
added by Sylak | editStylist [Issue 338], Paula Hawkins (Oct 12, 2016)
Hanya Yanagihara schrijft in Een klein leven duidelijk voor haar lezer, ze manipuleert je met perfect getimede overgangen: van feel good naar feel bad en terug. Alle personages hebben maar één eigenschap, het zijn sjablonen. Ergerlijk. En toch weet het boek iets te raken.
In the end, her novel is little more than a machine designed to produce negative emotions for the reader to wallow in—unsurprisingly, the very emotions that, in her Kirkus Reviews interview, she listed as the ones she was interested in, the ones she felt men were incapable of expressing: fear, shame, vulnerability. Both the tediousness of A Little Life and, you imagine, the guilty pleasures it holds for some readers are those of a teenaged rap session, that adolescent social ritual par excellence, in which the same crises and hurts are constantly rehearsed.
Je kunt je afvragen waarom de mensen rond Jude St. Francis zoveel kunnen houden van iemand die hen steeds weer door de vingers glipt, die zijn geschiedenis verborgen houdt en die een bron is van zorgen en frustraties. Tot je merkt dat je zelf die liefde bent gaan voelen, inclusief de angst die erbij hoort. Het verraadt dat in A Little Life iets wezenlijks wordt aangeraakt.
added by Jozefus | editNRC Handelsblad, Auke Hulst (Sep 14, 2015)
Yanagihara’s success in creating a deeply afflicted protagonist is offset by placing him in a world so unrealized it almost seems allegorical, with characters so flatly drawn they seem more representative of people than the actual thing. This leaves the reader, at the end, wondering if she has been foolish for taking seriously something that was merely a contrivance all along.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Carol Anshaw (Mar 30, 2015)

» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yanagihara, Hanyaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briasco, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hujar, PeterCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kessler, TorbenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webb, CardonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyman, OliverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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To Jared Hohlt
in friendship; with love
First words
The eleventh apartment had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a T-shirt and shorts even though it was October, smoking.
"I know you're tired," Brother Luke had said. "It's normal; you're growing. It's tiring work, growing. And I know you work hard. But Jude, when you're with your clients, you have to show a little life; they're paying to be with you, you know – you have to show them you're enjoying it."

De verwijzing naar de titel van het boek is in de Nederlandse vertaling verdwenen:

'Ik weet dat je moe bent,' had broeder Luke gezegd. 'Dat is normaal; je bent in de groei. Groeien is een vermoeiende klus. En ik weet dat je hard werkt. Maar Jude, als je met je klanten bent, moet je wel een beetje energiek zijn; ze betalen ervoor om met je naar bed te gaan, weet je… Je moet ze laten zien dat je het fijn vindt.'
The trick of friendship, I think, is to find people better than you are - not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving - and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad or good it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.
He would have turned down Rhode's invitation; he would have kept living his little life; he would have never known the difference.
If you love home — and even if you don't — there is nothing quite as cozy, as comfortable, as delightful, as that first week back. That week, even the things that would irritate you — the alarm waahing from some car at three in the morning; the pigeons who come to clutter and click on the windowsill behind your bed when you're trying to sleep in — seem instead reminders of your own permanence, of how life, your life, will always graciously allow you to step back inside it, no matter how far you have gone away from it or how long you have left it.
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