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A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara

(24 Posts)
Fromparistoberlin73 Thu 10-Sep-15 13:32:40

wow, I am halfway through - marking place to discuss if anyone else reading/read

its been a while since a book caught me so much

MimsyBorogroves Wed 16-Sep-15 16:27:39

I'm reading too. Only 22% through (kindle!) but loving it so far. ????A difficult read at times, but wow.

Malamutes Wed 16-Sep-15 16:35:00

Up there with the best books I have ever read, I was so emotionally involved in this book, something I haven't had in a while, I think since Purple Hibiscus. Savour this book don't greedily rush it like me!

hackmum Wed 16-Sep-15 16:57:27

Interesting. I've been thinking of reading it but was massively put off by the fact that it's 700 pages long. Might have to adjust my view!

southeastdweller Wed 16-Sep-15 18:25:15

I have it on Kindle - is it depressing to read? I don't know whether I'm in the right frame of mind to start it yet.

Malamutes Wed 16-Sep-15 20:24:53

Sad and moving, makes you think and appreciate what you have. Not depressing though I was in tears. Highly recommend.

Fromparistoberlin73 Thu 17-Sep-15 08:50:01

southeast- its a good question. I read it in a week when I was struggling with a bereavement- I was OK but it very strongly affected me. why not start it and see?

Its not depressing, but it very strongly affected me

I cant say I loved it, but I cant remember the last time a book got me so hard! It reminds me a bit of the Goldfinch, which I also loved

I tried to read something lighter after to cheer me up, but I just cant!!!

southeastdweller Sun 20-Sep-15 20:39:30

That's good to know From about The Goldfinch - I also loved that. I think I'll start it in the week and see how I get on.

flowers for your loss, btw.

JoylessFucker Tue 22-Sep-15 11:23:00

Fromparis thanks for starting this thread. I've just finished reading this and despite really not looking forward to reading anything on the subject, it absolutely took my breath away. What a powerful, emotional and beautifully written book. I did shed tears and whilst it was harrowing in parts, the overriding emotions expressed were those of kindness, friendship and love.

I'm so sorry to hear of your bereavement flowers

MimsyBorogroves Tue 22-Sep-15 15:26:46

Just had to turn my kindle off to pick up DS and have a massive lump in my throat and shaky hands - 87% of the way through. A hard, hard book to read, yet so interspersed with moments of joy. Only to be read in the quiet times.

magimedi Tue 22-Sep-15 16:44:09

Read this thread & just logged into my amazon account & it came up as recommended for me, owing to some of the other books I'd read!

Might just wait for it to drop in price a bit - I try not to spend more than £5 on kindle books. It's on my wish list.

Fromparistoberlin73 Wed 23-Sep-15 11:42:49

thanks joyless

its a hell of a book- more of an experience than a book TBH!

Liomsa Sat 26-Sep-15 07:16:00

Gosh, I thought it was ghastly, high-grade misery porn.

mmack Sun 18-Oct-15 22:34:40

I'm 100 pages in and finding it amazingly over-written. It does remind me of The Goldfinch and I don't mean that as a compliment. The characters are not believable and it needed a good editor to pare it down. I hope it improves.

southeastdweller Mon 19-Oct-15 22:04:09

Still have it on my Kindle but it's not calling me yet...trying to read as many 2015 books before the year ends so will start it when I can manage some motivation.

mmack Mon 19-Oct-15 23:54:33

The four college friends end up being a hot-shot lawyer, a movie star, a famous artist and a famous architect. They don't marry and their friendships with each other are the most significant things in their lives. Bad monks lurk in the background. I think it seems very familiar to me as it's very like Pat Conroy's South of Broad. I'm OK with a bit of suspension of disbelief but I just don't see how this made the Booker shortlist. I do want to find out what happens though.

Bloomsberry Tue 20-Oct-15 00:07:30

I liked the premise of friends remaining crucial to one another, and friendship not being downgraded by domestic ties, but the four main characters actually stay juvenile, despite (because of?) their slightly incredible successes, which I think damages the assertion of choosing friendship as the highest kind of human relationship. I've never thought for a moment that getting married and/or having a child was any kind of index of adulthood, but these characters did embody for me a kind of immature self-involvement I found unattractive. It probably didn't help that I found all the bits to do with their work wholly unconvincing...

Mmack, no spoilers, but it won't surprise you that Many Gloomy Things happen.

Actually, I hated this novel. I agree with the pp who said it was literary misery porn.

mmack Tue 20-Oct-15 08:35:20

It seems to me that a good editor might have pointed out that getting a masters from MIT while also finishing law school was impressive enough. Does Jude also being a professional-level singer and master baker add anything to the story? It reminds me of when my son was little and wanted to be an astronaut who is a Formula One driver when not in outer space.

Bloomsberry Tue 20-Oct-15 10:00:43

Yes, mmack grin. The author seems an intelligent enough woman, but no one is asking these kinds of questions of her in interviews, and I do wonder what she thought she was doing with Jude in particular. At times he reminds me of what used to be called Mary-Sues in fan fiction - beautiful, brilliantly talented, universally-beloved stand-ins for the author. In fact, bits of it do also remind me of hurt/comfort fan fiction.

And giving Willem a differently grim childhood - as well as all four having their major successes in different fields - feels like over-egging the pudding big time.

And I had a real problem ethically with the fact that the precise, horrible details of Jude's childhood abuse are held out as a narrative 'big reveal' to keep us reading. We know he was abused from the beginning, but I think it's repellent that the exact ins and outs of what happened - which are beyond horrifying - are dangled in front of us for mist of the novel like the resolution to a crime novel.

southeastdweller Wed 11-Nov-15 20:52:55

<skillfully avoids the last four posts grin>

I've started it and finding it a little slow so far but need to be patient as I've got 95% to go...

mmack Wed 11-Nov-15 23:47:27

Don't worry, Southeast. We didn't really give anything away. I posted when I was still about one third of the way through. I totally agree with Bloomsberry that the way the author drip feeds the details of the abuse is not nice. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

HappydaysArehere Sun 15-Nov-15 17:30:10

I finished this last week. It was a truly unusual and affecting book. As the story progressed and the horrors increased it became a must know the ending drive to finish it. However, the story line was often too contrived and at times I felt that the horror was too relentless to the point that at times it was difficult to believe. Also, at times Willem, Harold and co became just too good to be true. Overall, I was pleased to have read it.

soverytired1 Tue 17-Nov-15 12:42:57

Yes all of Jude's talents and good looks and everything are unbelievable but isn't it meant to represent more than just describing a character - he's a saint, he's perfect. It's like a fable or something. Not to be taken at face value.

I found this podcast on it interesting (lots of spoilers) ink{\]]3}

sj73 Mon 23-Nov-15 14:58:09

I didn't like this at all. I've just finished it and it was a long, tedious, miserable slog. One of the problems with it was that there was way too much telling rather than showing. Not much is implied so you don't have to work hard to see that Jude how damaged and it was like being battered over the head with it for 750 pages with nothing new about his psyche being revealed. I hated the fact that the characters are either saints or sinners and didn't find it very plausible. For example: the character of Andy and how much of himself he gave to Jude emotionally for 30 odd years. It didn't convince me, also Jude didn't seem to give back enough to deserve that level of loyalty.

One more gripe: the lack of female characters. I felt Jude could have done with a female friend. I think it would have been far more realistic if he had gravitated towards women rather than men in light of his abuse. Even his adoptive mother doesn't get a look in!

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