A Little Life

A Little Life

A Novel

eBook - 2015
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Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement--and a great gift for its publisher. 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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2015]
Copyright Date: ♭2015
ISBN: 9780385539265
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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May 14, 2021

So tragic. I gave 4.5 only because the first 100 pages were a little boring, but necessary. It makes one question whether you are truly allowed to make hard decisions that effect your destiny. It also makes you realize how much one can go through, live through, in a single life.

Mar 18, 2021

I don't think I've ever read a book where I was left crying—I don't think I ever cried over a book. The pain of reading this book was so intense and I had to stop for breaks because it was so hard to continue following the words on the page, and yet I can only imagine the pain I'm feeling now is a small fraction of what Jude experienced. The book is so harrowing, but I glean from it a lesson of such intense and intimate friendship, one that bursts and flourishes, rescinds and matures, and of trauma, one that is so endlessly agonizing, like a pack of hyenas nipping at your ankles as you desperately try to escape in futility. This was so emotional—oh my goodness—and I'm literally still feeling the ending through my bones.

Mar 06, 2021

I hate putting books down but I couldn't help myself with this one. The writing style isn't interesting in my opinion. I really wish I liked this book...

Jan 28, 2021

A fair warning to all looking to read A Little Life : tread lightly. The content of the book is heavy in many ways, and not suitable for all. Besides frightening and upsetting content, A Little Life is a tragedy in many ways. The book follows a group of four friends, tied together by their relationship to Jude St. Francis, a member of the friend group with a tragic and unspeakable past. The novel follows the group in their personal experiences, all while revealing Jude’s past, accounting for his person and role in the story. Heartbreaking, yet captivating at the same time, A Little Life tells the reader about life, love, struggle, heartbreak, death, and growing old, all in 700 or some pages. A Little Life is an interesting and complicated novel in that there is no direct evidence of what time period it has taken place in, but it is so native to New York. Each street, restaurant, and location mentioned in the novel is true to New York’s layout, which puts you directly in the story, almost creating the feeling like you are able to live with the beloved characters. As mentioned, this book includes a lot of heavy content, which makes it a challenging read. This book shouldn’t make you feel happy, and is not a generally happy story. Unwinding the story of Jude is a difficult process, and the conclusion of the book, in all honesty, did not make me feel good. I would give this book 3/5 stars, as it does describe a fantastic and interesting story, but does propose a challenge in the content and the process of reading, as well as an overwhelming feeling of sadness.
@readingmouse of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Dec 21, 2020

The characterizations are top notch, I felt an intense connection to the characters, such that I was deeply emotionally impacted by the traumas they experience. I feel like the book has a lot to say about trauma, it is perhaps a bit overwrought with descriptions of the horrible traumas one character in particular experienced, but I feel like it illustrates well a point that we can never fully understand an individual's trauma and how much they may struggle with it. As someone who works in mental health, this novel has inspired me to reaffirm my use of trauma informed care. I still find myself tearing up at some thoughts of the outcomes for a few of the characters, this is a very cathartic read. This is not a book that everyone should read, it has a lot of triggering content, I would take caution before reading it if you feel that it may upset you/remind you of your own trauma.

Dec 06, 2020

I love my partner more after having read this book because of its elegant observations on love.

Oct 29, 2020

this book is AMAZING!!! its one of the few books that's kept my attention and the story is wonderful, and its beautifully written

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

This is a very polarizing book, you'll either love it or hate it. It's a very dark and brutal story, with vivid characters, and beautiful writing. This discusses very heavy, depressing, and triggering topics, so proceed with caution. I would not recommend this to everyone.

Sep 27, 2020

A powerful book. I was given it by a friend who said try to read it.
I am so glad I didn't read any reviews prior. I would suggest this.
At one stage I put it down for a week afraid to continue. But I am so glad I completed it.
I will reccomend it to very few of my discerning reading friends.
Goes straight into my top 10.

Thank you Hanya Yanagihara.

Apr 15, 2020

This is a very long, very brutal book. There is nothing little about it. While highly acclaimed by many reputable outlets, I found this book hard to get through and even harder to get into. Following a group of college friends as they make their way in the world, it starts in a very typical NYC novel manner, and then goes into very dark territory, as it explains the backstory of one of is characters, Jude. It was too much for me and veered into trauma porn. It's an impressive achievement, I suppose, but not in any way enjoyable. I felt punished.

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Add Notices
Jan 31, 2021

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Self harm, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, disordered eating, sexual/physical abuse of a minor, forced prostitution of a minor, domestic violence, violence against a disabled person, drug abuse, loss of a child, PTSD, anxiety

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

Other: psychological abuse, substance abuse

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

Frightening or Intense Scenes: suicidal thoughts, suicidal tendencies, self-harm

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

Sexual Content: sexual abuse, rape

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

Violence: abuse

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

Coarse Language: strong language

Mar 13, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: graphic descriptions of assault

Mar 13, 2017

Violence: child sexual abuse, domestic abuse

Mar 26, 2016

Other: self-harm

Mar 12, 2016

Sexual Content: rape, child molestation

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Add Age Suitability
Jan 26, 2021

EthanHill_3 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Oct 29, 2018

willtbruce thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 99

Jun 04, 2018

Cheito thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Apr 09, 2018

cosettes thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Sep 08, 2016

Hshswiss thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 01, 2016

booksophie thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and under

Mar 12, 2016

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Quote
LCPL_Krystyna Oct 27, 2020

“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are 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.”

p. 63: Oh, what was wrong with him? Sex; sexuality: these too were things he should have sorted out in college, the last place where such insecurity was not just tolerated but encouraged. In his early twenties, he had tried falling in and out of love with various people…and yet still didn’t know to whom he might be attracted. He often thought that being gay (as much as he also couldn’t stand the thought of it; somehow it, like race, seemed the province of college, an identity to inhabit for a period before maturing to more proper and practical realms) was attractive mostly for its accompanying accessories, its collection of political opinions and causes and its embrace of aesthetics. He was missing, it seemed, the sense of victimization and woundedness and perpetual anger it took to be black, but he was certain he possessed the interests that would be required if he were gay.

Aug 22, 2017

"But what Andy never understood about him was this: he was an optimist. Every month, every week he chose to open his eyes, to live another day in the world. He did it when he was feeling so awful that sometimes the pain seemed to transport him to another state, one in which everything, even the past that he worked so hard to forget, seemed to fade into a gray watercolor wash. He did it when his memories crowded out all other thoughts, when it took real effort, real concentration, to tether himself to his current life, to keep himself from raging with despair and shame. He did it when he was so exhausted of trying, when being awake and alive demanded such energy that he had to lie in bed thinking of reasons to get up and try again, when it would be easier to go to the bathroom and untape the plastic zipped bag containing his cotton pads and loose razors and alcohol wipes and bandages from its hiding place beneath the sink and simply surrender. Those were the very bad days."

Aug 22, 2017

"Wasn't it a miracle to survive the unsurvivable? Wasn't friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely? Wasn't this house, this beauty, this comfort, this life a miracle? And so who could blame him for hoping for one more, for hoping that despite knowing better, that despite biology, and time, and history, that they would be the exception, that what happened to other people with Jude's sort of injury would't happen to him, that even with all that Jude had overcome, he might overcome just one more thing?"


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