2015 National Book Award Finalist, Fiction
A Little Life
(Doubleday/Penguin Random House)
In her uncompromising and demanding novel, Hanya Yanagihara tells us the poignant story of four men, revealing what we might otherwise try to avoid, namely, all of the dangers and difficulties of human felt life. To this end, she offers an unflinching exploration of a wide range of subjects—art and finance, law and faith, abuse and disease—but she never loses sight of what matters most, our need for connection, our will to love and endure.
National Book Foundation: In the process of writing your book, what did you discover, what, if anything, surprised you?
Yanagihara: One of the less-discussed perks (if one could call it that) of writing fiction is that affords you a perfectly good excuse to ask people all sorts of nosy questions about their jobs. Work -- how it gives us an identity, how it gives our lives shape, how it can offer us a different way of seeing ourselves, and others to see us -- is an important part of A LITTLE LIFE, and interviewing people (friends and friends of friends) about their careers in architecture, film, and the law was one of the book's great pleasures. I was surprised, again and again, by my interviewees' passion and eloquence and generosity, and fascinated by their descriptions of the various micro-societies in which they spent their working lives.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
About The Author
Hanya Yanagihara lives in New York City.
Photo credit: Sam Levy
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