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Description

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize

Long-listed for the National Book Award for Fiction

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the 21st century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow, improbably, breaks through into the light.

When four classmates 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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.

In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.

Cover photograph by The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC, Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

©2015 Hanya Yanagihara (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critiques

"Yanagihara's immense new book, A Little Life, announces her, as decisively as a second work can, as a major American novelist." ( The Wall Street Journal)
"Yanagihara’s novel can...drive you mad, consume you, and take over your life. Like the axiom of equality, A Little Life feels elemental, irreducible - and, dark and disturbing though it is, there is beauty in it." ( The New Yorker)
"Yanagihara has drawn a deeply realized character study that inspires as much as devastates. It’s a life, just like everyone else's, but in Yanagihara’s hands, it’s also tender and large, affecting and transcendent; not a little life at all." ( The Washington Post)

Ce que les membres d'Audible en pensent

Notations

Global

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 étoiles
    7
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Histoire

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 étoiles
    6
  • 4 étoiles
    1
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    0
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    0
  • 1 étoile
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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
Trier par :
  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Angela
  • 17/10/2015

I had to call in SAD to work

Any additional comments?

I was probably a quarter of the way into the novel before I texted my book buddy: "It's called A Little Life and you have to read it right this minute. I don't even understand why it's so unbearable and so beautiful." By the time I had a quarter of the novel left, I was walking around Walgreen's, to buy makeup to repair my cry-face, and sobbing.

This is not just a manipulative tearjerker. This is a genuine falling in love and mourning for and with the characters. I don't know if I am more in love with Jude or Willem--or perhaps with the love they have for each other.

This novel unfurls with a steady, patient, pace as the characters grow and change and, ostensibly, grow up. The depth of it is rather like John Irving, but without the width of the (often pointless) subplots. The author's widening and narrowing focus, however, is incomparable; I've not ever experienced the controlled examination of character, then whole world/context/relationship/effect. I'm not sure it's even nameable. Maybe something like Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, with the individual interpretations of self within the shared travesty.

A word about St. Jude. He sprang, fully formed, from Yanagihara's head--armed with his razor and armor of silence, and just as surely the child of an eater-of-innocence and Wisdom itself. The reader becomes as protective of Jude as everyone else, and when he is called "crazy" or "sick," you have to know it's true, but everything in you objects, even while you hope for his healing, or his willingness to heal.

In the living (beyond the merely reading) of this novel, I had to constantly construct and reconstruct my understanding of Jude, of Willem, my reactions, and therefore myself. In the end, I had to update my definition of love, of romantic love, of friendship, of parenthood, of selfishness/selflessness, and the meaning of one little life. This is the reason one reads, and the reason one writes.

271 sur 284 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Doug - Audible
  • 12/10/2015

Brutal, But Beautiful

I read an article in which the author compared the experience of writing this book to a "fever dream" - and that's actually similar to how I felt while reading it. Yanagihara's prose is so beautifully written, her characters so well-drawn, that I would go hours absorbed in her work, experiencing that heady feeling that only great fiction can induce. Yes, there are dark passages; scenes that will break your heart and make you angry. But there are also moments in this book that made me think deeply about the nature of friendship and love, forgiveness and recovery, and what it means to actually share your life - your past, your pain, your aspirations, your joy - with those you love. And while there's a brutality to A Little Life - a raw quality that often left me feeling as exposed as its characters - there was something in Yanagihara's writing that was wondrous; something that made me appreciate my own little life.

241 sur 254 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stepheni T. Lynch
  • 11/12/2015

Heartbreakingly beautiful

Any additional comments?

I have listened to hundreds of books from Audible, but never felt compelled to write a review. This book moved me to tears several times and parts of it will stay with me forever. Beautifully written, beautifully narrated. Now I need a comedy!

104 sur 111 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B.J.
  • 29/10/2015

Buyer beware: a five-star book with a big red flag

There are very, very few books that can be compared to this one. First, it is brilliantly written. It's smooth. It's a new take on an old subject. The author's talent is obvious. All of that is clear in any review you'll read. Second, the narration is absolutely perfect for the book and its characters. No question it gets a 5-star rating across the board. It's breathtaking, actually. And horrific beyond anything I can imagine.

The subject matter in this book - beyond the love and friendship, of course - is brutal. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to shake the mental images. In spite of the 32 hours I spent with this book in my ear, listening every chance I could get, I cannot recommend it. Please read what you can (without spoilers) about this book and make your own determination. You won't be disappointed with the quality of the writing or the narration. It's up to you if you can handle the topics.

278 sur 301 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carolyn
  • 31/12/2015

What an emotional novel!

This novel is the most gut-wrenching, emotion draining and heart breaking book I have ever listened to! These characters came to life for me! All I can say is this what is not a light read and be prepared to listen to this all day and all night. Bravo, Bravo!!

22 sur 23 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lulu
  • 15/10/2015

Four Stars But No Recommendation

The only reading experience I can compare to reading A Little Life is when I read American Psycho many years ago. I hated everything about that book. The characters, the plot, the structure, the narrative ... everything. Yet, I was compelled to keep reading until the end. I had to put it down every 30 minutes or so, wash my hands, and get my mind off of it But I finished the book. I had no choice. Regardless of the how I normally felt about the subject matter, something in Easton's writing compelled me forward with a very reluctant fascination. His craftsmanship made reading the unreadable not just bearable, but necessary. And since then I have compared many books and many authors to Easton and this particular book and most have come up short.

A Little Life was every bit as compelling and as difficult to read. I disliked the plot and while I also disliked many of the characters, my dislike stemmed from different reasons. The book was 700 pages of mind-numbing depression with very few moments of light. The subject matter was somewhat similar to American Psycho - the debasement of others - but told from a far more sympathetic perspective, the victim's, rather than the perpetrator's. And my dislike of the characters wasn't because they were at their core unlikeable - it was because most of them were too good, too likable. It felt like the author was sometimes counterbalancing the over the top violence visited on Judd with over the top "too good to be true" friends and supporters. Very few people in life would have the patience and perseverance to deal with Judd for 4 years, much less almost 40. Pity and compassion only go so far. At some point, to protect your own psyche you have to step away from the despair. And as he often admitted, Judd was a terrible friend. He never shared his past with others, never offered explanations for his obvious problems and strangeness and never allowed others to truly see him. Willem, who started out as a very interesting person, eventually becomes a saint, and no one is as boring as a saint. J.B. who was the least saintly of the characters was still too nice to be a foil against the other characters' saccharine.. Nor was it logical to assume that someone with as many mental and physical health problems, who was so dysfunctional in so many ways could have risen as high as he rose in his career. The buildup to the true climax of the book, or at least the point of no-return was done well and took me by surprise, but I had an issue with the end of the book. Judd broke his promise, a promise he evidently took quite seriously, based on the amount of time it was discussed in the book. Then he broke it and there was no explanation about how he came around to breaking it.

Yet the author wrote in such a compelling fashion I had to keep reading. Her wide base of knowledge about so many subjects was fascinating. Her prose was often lyrical and she skillfully made the unpalatable, palatable. At least palatable enough that you were willing to stomach it in order to get through the book. Her dialog, other than the endless apologies, was witty and sharp. The portrait she painted of the art world, New York City and so many other beautiful locales was lyrical. And the way she jumped over large chunks of time, then periodically went back and revisited small moments in those blank spaces could have been distracting, but it seemed to fit the characters well and it was easy to follow.

So my four stars are attributable to a a writer so talented she makes the reader willing to devote a large chunk of time to a story they would prefer not to hear. I would like to see her turn that talent on a story less maudlin and depressing. I can't really recommend this book however, no matter how skillful the author. If you do decide to read it, go into it with your eyes open. Do not expect to be entertained.

I listened to this, and the narrator, Oliver Wyman did a fantastic job.

214 sur 236 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura - Audible
  • 12/10/2015

An Incredible Work of Literary Fiction

Any additional comments?

If there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that my co-workers, friends, and family are getting tired of me raving about A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. And now when I have free range to unabashedly praise this incredible work of fiction, I feel as if I am at a loss of words. So I’ll just say this: A Little Life is a masterpiece. It’s a deeply-moving, emotionally-unsettling, yet occasionally uplifting saga of friendship and love spanning 50 years. Yanagihara took me into some of the darkest places in fiction I have been, and left me thinking about her characters long after the story ended.

80 sur 89 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • 27/12/2015

Had a little trouble with suspension of disbelief.

Let me preface this review by saying I am a medical professional, so my take on this book is obviously colored by my experiences and expertise. Overall, I really liked this book but found certain elements hard to swallow; most specifically Andy the orthopedic physician who continued to treat his friend for self inflicted wounds without at the very least getting a 72 hour mental health hold placed. In real life, Andy could and would be in danger of loosing his license for not following through on this. Also had a hard time accepting the fact that Jude would be released from any in-patient psychiatric facility after a drastic suicide attempt just because he failed to corporate with his therapist. That part would have bought him more time, not a ticket out.

But....I did like the characters (although I do agree with other reviewers that Willem was a bit too saint-like) and the way the story was laid out in bits and pieces throughout the novel.

IMHO, the end dragged, the novel could have ended quite a bit sooner without any loss of substance to the story.

50 sur 56 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 15/10/2015

I can't believe I just put myself through this.

What did you like best about A Little Life? What did you like least?

Yanagihara is an extraordinarily gifted writer and because of that I'm left wondering how I came out the other side of this brutal thing with such negative feelings for the story, for Jude, and for my own callousness. How could I have possibly lost all sympathy and understanding for a character who has endured over thirty Audible hours of unspeakable sadness, misery and horrors? At some point early on, prior to the big reveal, I completely disconnected from Jude emotionally and then I spent the remainder of the book just waiting for it to end.

Would you recommend A Little Life to your friends? Why or why not?

If I could separate the writing from the story, I would recommend this book.

Which character – as performed by Oliver Wyman – was your favorite?

I am wondering if perhaps the Audible performance is part of my conflict with this book. I physically cringed at every "I'm sorry" (and there were so many...) and I felt completely exhausted while listening. Was that just a result of the excessively heavy story line? Was there something in the tone of the read that left me feeling that way? Was it a combination? I'm not entirely sure.

Was A Little Life worth the listening time?

Truly conflicted on this.

81 sur 92 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • kurdis teed
  • 19/02/2018

Show a little life

If you could sum up A Little Life in three words, what would they be?

Sad, Angry, Brutal

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Harold because he does his best to help our struggling protagonist.

Which character – as performed by Oliver Wyman – was your favorite?

This narrator did an excellent job. Five stars all the way around for over 32 hours of perfect narration.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Anyone is going to react to this book. It is sad. It is brutal. But, the writing is excellent and the narration is excellent. There is something about the way in which Yanagihara tells a story, even a devastating one, that keeps the listener fully engaged. Also, the narrator of this work, Oliver Wyman, adds to the experience with pitch perfect narration.

Any additional comments?

This is the most difficult book I've ever had to review. Despite everything, I have to rate it 5 stars. The subject matter is brutal. The story is most definitely depressing, but it is also beautiful in some way that I cannot explain.

I would not suggest this novel to anyone who is in need of an uplifting read. This novel is sad, and it will make you sad. I would only suggest A Little Life to those who are in the mood for and able to endure a sad, brutal, yet beautiful novel.

12 sur 13 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Oliver B
  • 29/11/2016

Great story and great narrator!

The story itself was just so heartbreaking and deep and complex.
The narrator did a really great job. Him giving different characters different tones didn't seem awkward or uncomfortable (as it does for me with many audio book dialogues) but just very real.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • wendy de feydeau
  • 11/04/2016

out of tragedy comes compassion

A tale of horrific proportions that shocks to the core but told with a tenderness through the lives of compassionate characters you will yourself to believe truly exist.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kazza
  • 05/03/2016

Wrist-slittingly bad

"I'm so sorry" claims the lead character of this book about 200 times, on page after page of endless self-pity, suffering, doom and gloom. I'm also sorry: sorry I didn't give up on this book far sooner. Sorry I ever picked it up, in fact. It just got worse and worse. It got to the point where I was so annoyed about the main character that every time some new misfortune befell him (and there were many, I can tell you, each more unbelievable than the last) I internally fumed "oh for f*ck's sake, this is just getting ridiculous". If Jude had been a real person one of his long-suffering friends would have long since slit his wrists for him. Unbelievable characters, unbelievable storyline. Book abandonned 3/4 way through.

15 sur 21 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 13/12/2017

Brilliant.

Eine fesselnde, tragische und sehr berührende Geschichte, keine leichte Kost, aber faszinierend durch die Exaktheit der Erzählung, die niemals ins Voyeuristische abgleitet. Ein monumentales Werk.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Harald Schmitt
  • 09/07/2017

Anrührend, aber nicht rührselig

Ruhig erzählte Geschichte mit emotionalem Tiefgang und manch überraschender Wendung. Der Sprecher verleiht den Figuren einen hohen Grad an Individualität. Obwohl die Handlung alles in allem konstruiert ist, wirkt sie authentisch, anrührend, aber nicht rührselig.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Heike
  • 02/03/2017

Warnung

Hanya Yanagihara kann schreiben und Stimmungen und Bilder erzeugen. Bei dem Thema brutaler, sexueller Missbrauch und Ausbeutung eines Kindes und welche Auswirkungen diese Erfahrungen für das gesamte Leben haben, war es für mich schwer, der Geschichte immer zu folgen. Ist es wirklich ein Zugewinn, wenn ich als Leserin/Hörerin alle grausamen Details erzählt bekomme? Ich denke, dem Buch hätte eine Kürzung gutgetan. Die Wiederholungen des Leids machen das Buch nicht besser.

5 sur 7 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karin Garic
  • 17/07/2018

Abartig brutale Geschichte in zauberhafter Sprache und Tiefgang

Jetzt denke ich anders über Selbstmord...
Ich wollte mehrmals abbrechen da mir schlecht wurde was eine Seele ertragen muss.

Und ja, dass Liebe manchmal nicht genug ist - oder vielmehr zu viel abverlangt. Ein perfektes Beispiel für NICHT selbstlose Liebe und selbstzerstörerische Gedanken die trotz Sehnsucht alles zerstören - diese Art von Beziehung hätte niemals von Dauer sein können !

Es hätte allerdings gereicht, wenn der Autounfall normal passiert wäre und nicht unter diesen Umständen - diese negative Begegnung hätte auch weg gelassen werden können - war dann eine Spur zu überladen ....
Und das „sorry“ tausend mal !

Sehr angenehme Stimme des Sprechers .
Habe das physische Buch von einer guten Freundin zum Englisch lernen geschenkt bekommen. Da sind traumhaft schöne Formulierungen drin - lesen und zugleich mit hören ist eine perfekte Kombination:)

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Schall.und.Rauch
  • 10/04/2018

Sorry!

Für wen - wenn nicht gerade für Sie - ist dieses Hörbuch besser geeignet?

Ich habe keine Ahnung, wer um alles in der Welt sich so ein Elend anhören möchte. Die ersten Stunden gingen ja noch, aber dann wurde die Geschichte immer unglaubwürdiger und irgendwann musste ich abbrechen - hätte ich noch einmal den Satz "I am sorry" anhören müssen, wäre ich verzweifelt.

Welche Figur würden Sie in A Little Life weglassen?

Ich kritisiere ungern so pauschal: Aber den wehleidigen Hauptprotagonisten hätte man meiner Meinung nach weglassen können. Es ist mir noch nie passiert, dass ich so genervt von einer fiktiven Person war.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonas
  • 07/03/2018

I‘m so sorry....

...“I‘m so sorry“ is probably the single most heard phrase in this book, and although this - combined with the sometimes whining, monotone, but always perfectly fitting voice of the narrator (he should get an Academy Award for this performance, must have been a hell of a job) is making you long for this book to end after a while, it is immensely touching, hearrbreakingly sad and overwhelmingly breathtaking. Makes you want to be with your beloved ones right away, makes you want to quit your job and travel to Italy. But most of all: makes you want to force every adult in the world who is mistreating or abusing children have to read this. Be prepared to suffer. It is a feelgood-book: makes you feel bad while reading/listening, but makes you appreciate your own life. It can‘t be as horrible as Jude‘s.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lynx
  • 24/02/2018

Nothing but misery

I could not make it.. Some parts are nicely written, but the sadistic details are extreme and emotionally the story is draining and ultimately there is no satisfaction in continuing. Extremely long, too..