A Little Life by Hanya YanagiharaWhen four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, theyre 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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
A Little Life
Set in the present, A Little Life is about four young men — friends from the same college — who move to New York to chase big careers. The story narrows its focus on Jude: broken, full of secrets, self-harming, slicing his calves and arms at 2am, his body a web of scar tissue. I finished A Little Life and I feel like I just climbed out of a well and my fingernails are torn up. Reading, of course, is a solo activity. But occasionally a book forces demands on you that are so immense you need consolation from others. January is proving to be a very bleak month. So why has it struck such a chord?
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The novel was written over the course of eighteen months. The novel follows the lives of four friends in New York City from college through to middle-age. It focuses particularly on Jude, a lawyer with a mysterious past, ambiguous ethnicity, and unexplained health issues. Jude walks with a limp and suffers from severe nerve damage in his spine that causes him great pain, which he blames on a car injury he sustained as a child. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, he also habitually self-harms. The rest of the group includes Malcolm, a struggling architect from a wealthy biracial family who still lives at home; JB, a painter of Haitian descent; and Willem, an aspiring actor whom Jude is closest with due to their both being orphans. After graduation, Jude and Willem share a one-bedroom apartment due to their relative poverty compared to their friends.
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A little life - Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (subtitled)
They are a pleasingly diverse crew, tightly bound to each other: Willem Ragnarsson, the handsome son of a Wyoming ranch hand, who works as a waiter but aspires to be an actor; Malcolm Irvine, the biracial scion of a wealthy Upper East Side family, who has landed an associate position with a European starchitect; Jean-Baptiste JB Marion, the child of Haitian immigrants, who works as a receptionist at a downtown art magazine in whose pages he expects, one day soon, to be featured; and Jude St. Francis, a lawyer and mathematician, whose provenance and ethnic origins are largely unknown, even by his trio of friends. Jude, we later learn, was a foundling, deposited in a bag by a dumpster and raised by monks. Ambition and atheism. Yet it becomes evident soon enough that the author has more on her mind than a conventional big-city bildungsroman.
AMSTERDAM — How do you distill a page novel that takes place over decades and vividly depicts child rape, self-mutilation and amputation into two hours of palatable theater? Neither brevity nor palatability are concepts that particularly interest Mr. On Sept. Published in , the book became a worldwide best seller; it won the Kirkus Prize in Fiction and was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award. It initially looks like the story of four college friends — Jude, Malcolm, Willem and J.
Hanya Yanagihara lives in New York City. She was born in LA but had a peripatetic childhood, her father, a doctor, being restless and constantly on the move, first to Hawaii, then New York, Baltimore, California and Texas. She now lives in Manhattan. Her first novel, published in in , was The People in the Trees , was based on the real-life story of the disgraced Nobel prize winner, Daniel Gajdusek. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction Her new novel, A Little Life , longlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize , is an intimate study of friendship and different kinds of love and an exploration of the permanent scars caused by childhood trauma.