In conversation with KERA’s Krys Boyd
One of the most talked about books of the year and winner of the 2015 Kirkus Prize for Fiction, Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life follows four college friends living in New York as young adults: Malcolm is an architect; Willem an actor; JB a painter; and the fourth, Jude, is a litigator with a dark, painful past that remains a secret to those who love him. Despite enormous professional success and strong personal relationships, Jude can’t shake the destructive self-loathing endemic to his childhood abandonment and abuse. Tackling the issues of depression, sexual abuse, and self-harm, Yanagihara examines the ways that friends can help remake a life that has been destroyed, and the limits to their influence. Insightful, devastating, and hopeful, A Little Life pushes the limits of human cruelty while examining the restorative power of love.
A National Book Award Finalist, A Little Life also garnered a spot on the 2015 Man Booker Prize Short-List for Fiction. Her first novel, The People in the Trees, was shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.
“Yanagihara’s immense new book, A Little Life, announces her . . . as a major American novelist. Here is an epic study of trauma and friendship written with such intelligence and depth of perception that it will be one of the benchmarks against which all other novels that broach those subjects (and they are legion) will be measured.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal