This review originally appeared on WorldOfJoel.com
It took me a long time to finish A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It's a tough book to read. It's not hard to follow, nor does it have a complicated narrative. A Little Life is a hard book to read because it demands the reader to be a spectator to a group of guys lives that are both brilliant and heartbreaking. It's one of the most unrelenting narratives I've ever read.
What I love about A Little Life is that it felt real. It felt like a biography on four friends lives that she (the author) was apart of all of these years. When you meet Jude, Willem, J.B. and Malcolm they're young, in college, full of life, love, and optimism for the future. Or at least that's how it seems. As you begin to dive into each of their lives, their pasts, their inner-thoughts each face their own demons. Each have battles that they have to overcome.
I remember about half-way through A Little Life thinking I don't know how I'm going to finish this. Not because I didn't want to, but I felt beat up. This book packs such a punch that it often left me wanting to take breaks from it. Never did the book feel like it was trying to play to your emotions, it was just conveying what happened and at times why it happened. I loved what she did with time and narrators throughout the book. Without saying anything or alluding to a new date or narrator the transitions just happen. You can hear a story about the four in their 30's and then be transported back to one of their childhoods and then forward a couple of years to a major event. It keeps the reader on their toes and ready for anything.
If you can't tell already I absolutely loved A Little Life. A truly brilliant piece of literature. It was by no means easy or fun, but it was profound. I feel like I not only understand these four but I feel like it made me ask myself so many different questions about my own life. I'm not sure I could ever sit down to read A Little Life again but I do believe it will be in my list of favorite books for a long time to come.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to try and bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.