A Little Life By Hanya Yanagihara

Book image of a little life

Well Hello there.

Welcome to our book club.  We all love reading at C&C so we thought we would share our passion with you.  We will be reading a book a month and reviewing them for you, so you can either read along with us, or just pick the books you like based on our reviews. The choice is all yours. To see all our book choices over the months have a look at our Book Club 

A Little Life.

“When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.”


This may be presumptuous to say on our first book review but this will be the best book you will read this year. Reading is a lot like love, sometimes you just know, and with this book, it was love at first page. It enters your heart and at times it is not an easy read, you care so much about the people in it, so the pain can really hurt you.

Long and short of it

It’s not often you read a book of this length, it is over 700 pages and wish that it was longer, Yanagihara takes you right into the lives of these characters. The cover states that this book is about 4 college friends, it’s not, it’s about one person, Jude and the people who are connected to him. He is a broken man and slowly it is revealed how he became so broken. You know something bad has happened to Jude as a child but it is so much worse than you could imagine (if you have trouble reading about child abuse maybe this isn’t the book for you).

This is not a new character. The damaged soul whose self-worth never really recovers in present in a lot of modern fiction but Yanagihara’s skill is just how willing she is to plumb the depths of his darkness and its effects on those around him. She follows him for decades, observes him in all situations and is unflinching in her depictions. Her writing is the kind of good that you can miss if you’re not paying attention. You get so caught up in her story that it’s easy to miss just how good her writing is.

This is a book about love, what it means and what it can do, and it is the humanity of the characters and their love for each other that will stick with us for a long time to come

Read along with us.

For this month we have picked Normal People by Sally Rooney.  We shall review it in April.