Ahhh… A Little Life! I smile and grimace whenever I see that book in the shops, or hear that someone has read it for the first time. The reason for this dichotomy of reactions? This book will destroy you and heal you at the same time. Yanagihara takes you on a full throttle journey, covering the the entire range of life and the emotions involved.
A Little Life follows four best friends from when they are roommates at college right through the next 30 or so years. We have Jude, Malcolm, JB and Willem. All have different personalities and ways of handling issues. We explore their lives as they try and deal with revelations, tragedy, happiness, fame, and each other. However, rest assured, that Yanagihara’s novel isn’t just your standard coming of age drama. No. It goes deep into who we are , how much we can endure, and what it means to truly live. Imagine Nicholas Sparks on steroids but with half the sentiment.
One of my favourite aspects about this novel is the author’s use of language; It is truly phenomenal. Having the ability to evoke a sense of horror and shock without being explicit, is a true art form. The language is raw, yet it never becomes explicit just for the sake of shock value. It is believable, poetic and realistic all in one.
This isn’t an easy read whatsoever, however, it draws you in and keeps you hooked. I wouldn’t read this next to a cozy fire with Christmas music playing, but I would definitely recommend that you start the new year with this brilliant read!