Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Review // A Little Life

As I turned the last page and closed the 720 pages book, I was sobbing, silently. It had me taken on a tour of the life of an emotionally and physically damaged man, Jude St. Francis.    

Hanya Yanagihara’s A little Life published in March is a story about four college friends who have come to New York to make their way out in the world. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, ambitious artist; Malcolm, a frustrated architect; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude who serves as their center of gravity.

It is seemingly the story of four friends and their friendship over the decades which is tinged by addiction, success and pride. 
But it’s the story of Jude alone at the end, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man haunted by his insurmountable past.

Jude walks with a limp, suffers from episodes of severe spinal pain and will not say a word about his life before college. He cuts himself. Early on the book, we come to know that Jude cuts himself but one is kept on hold as to know the reasons for self-harm. 

The graphic depiction of abuse and physical suffering is so raw and severe in A Little Life. At times, I had to get away from the book, distract myself from thinking it too much, get some fresh air and start from where I left it.

This is one of the books that leaves you speechless and makes it extremely hard for one to do a proper review. I absolutely loved this book and there’s no way that this little review of mine will do justice. I knew even before starting this book that I will be completely invested in the lives of the four friends. I braced myself for the emotional turmoil I will be put through.

Let me tell you what this book deals on. It deals on a lot of difficult subjects including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. If you’re having a bad day or going through a rough patch in life then this is not the right book to pick.

Even before I picked it, I knew this was going to be the book of the year for me. It indeed is! 

It was like knowing that he is going to be THE ONE for you, even before meeting him. Heartbreaking yet a beautiful book on the true meaning of friendship. It astounds me to think how humans can be so brutal yet the same humans can be so loving and forgiving in Jude’s life.

Adult adoption is something I read about in the book for the first time. It’s interesting how Yanagihara immaculately brought about the beauty of male friendship which over time turns to love relationship. I have never read a book where the deep love between two men are so intimately portrayed as in A Little Life. Female characters are less or non-existent for that matter.

Art and photography, legal practices, medical jargons, paintings and architecture are so well detailed in the book. 

The last art by JB ‘Willem listening to Jude Tell a Story’ had me weeping literally. I cannot fathom the pain Jude goes through on seeing the art and later Harold. 

It was surprising to find Bhutan and Punakha, particularly being mentioned in the book. How did Bhutan strike to Hana Yangihara when Jude and Willem goes on a vacation and the vacation happens to be in Bhutan?    

I love it when a book leaves me emotionally draining. That’s when I find the outside world immaterial, and all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for days. This is what exactly this book did to me. 
Is there a life after A Little Life


  1. I would love to read this book, sounds interesting! Nice review!

    1. Its an absolutely thrilling read, 100 must read books, I'd say.


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