A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

4 Sep
FIVE out of FIVE stars

FIVE out of FIVE stars

I went into A Little Life knowing nothing about it at all, other than it had been quite an emotional experience for my friends who had read it. I resolved that I was not going to get emotionally involved with the characters, I wasn’t in the mood for crying over imaginary people right now. And it went well at first. I had a difficult time with the first chapters, I couldn’t imagine the four main characters in my head and then I couldn’t understand why these very different males were all friends. But I continued with the 720 page book because it was beautiful, I was enjoying it and I did come to learn and understand the characters, some more than others, but always, always, such beautiful writing. And then I came to understand the cover photo, which I had initially disliked and could not figure out why it was. I came to understand it, and then I saw the trajectory of the story, and we know how this is going to end, we know what tragedy lies ahead. But then it doesn’t, something completely unexpected happens, in the same way that life throws unimaginable plot twists around willy nilly in reality. And we suffer some more along with the characters, through all the tragedies of life, but without it being depressing, because underneath it all it is only beautiful, just as life itself is beautiful. And finally, on page 719, it got me. It brought the story around to something that had happened early on, and everything inside me just crushed and the tears started pouring down my cheeks. And so now I have finished the 720 pages, and I have sobbed, sobbed with the sadness and the beauty of it all. And I’ll never forget this story.

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