A Little Life

7 years ago by

A Little Life

You know those books that are life changing? The books that make it impossible to read anything else after them because nothing could ever be as good as that book? Yeah, A Little Life is one of those.

This book is quite actually the opposite of little, it’s massive in fact, which intimidated me when I picked it up. But once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s the second novel by New York based author Hanya Yanaghihara and it recently was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

A Little Life is the lifetime story of four (male) friends living in downtown New York, that focuses on the intricacies of friendship, memory and as Man Booker wrote “the limits of human endurance”. This sounds lovely and nice, but this book is heartbreaking. One of the four main characters, Jude, has had the upbringing made of nightmares and honestly, it was sometimes hard to read the stories of his youth, but man was it powerful. I couldn’t recommend it more, and everyone I know who has read it has said the same. Yes, you will probably read this in bed at night, alone and crying, but doesn’t it feel so good to be moved that deeply by a work of fiction every once in a while?


Add yours
  • I love to read and I will defiantly look if I can find this book! xx

  • Oh Emily I am sooo loving this book. Yes crying, happy, all emotions, I have stayed up late reading the past few nights and am tired but cannot wait to get back to it tonight. Do not want it to finish but am quite anxious about how it will finish. Definitely recommend.

  • oooh you totally get it!! It’s amazing right?! Let me know if you’ve read anything else that you think is as good! I started another book but it seems like such a drag compared to this. x

  • I knew when you said that your next review was about a book that was tough to read but impossible to put down that this was the one. I felt the same.

  • Anastasia February, 16 2016, 5:34 / Reply

    I like “Just Kids” by Patty Smith, “The Woman I wanted to be” by DVF

  • Hi Anastasia,
    I really liked Just Kids too! I would recommend Patti Smith’s new book, “M Train” it’s very good! x Emily

  • May I recommend “Late Fragments” by Kate Gross? A funny, wise and heartwarming book for any woman who has ever wondered what it’s all about.

  • I’m reading it now. Had to stop for s while. Very painful. You’re right. powerful!

  • Thanks for recommending! Although I try not to read sad books – they make lose faith. :(


  • I would love to read this book, but last time I checked it was not translate yet to french. The english version is scaring me a bit.

  • Completely agree, a brutal book but completely compelling and impossible to put down. We had it as our last book club book, and one of us, a New Yorker (we are in Brighton, England) who is also a child psychologist and very well read, says it’s her best book EVER.

  • Très intéressant ! Moi qui suis plutôt intéressée par les livres de non-fiction habituellement, je me laisserais bien tenter par celui-ci ! En plus ça se passe à NYC et rien que ça ça doit être TOP ;)

  • Oh I love a good read! I’ll have to see if I can download it to my Kindle x


  • Merci pour cette découverte! Il rejoint directement ma longue liste de livres “qui vont changer ma vie”, ou tout du moins m’aider à la comprendre.

  • Oof I read this book this past Fall, and it’s true, it’s really a life-changer. Amazing and moving and incredibly sad.

  • I’ve been wanting to read this book since first hearing about it, but I’m scared because I keep hearing how devastating it is! I do not know that I can handle sad right now, but still feel desperately drawn to read it :(


  • Ruby Woo by MAC works on every face! I’m very much a blush/mascara girl but Ruby Woo is the one lipstick that nudges me outside my comfort zone. Compliments for days!!

  • On parle beaucoup sur ce blog et ça me plait!!!!

  • Genevieve February, 17 2016, 8:05 / Reply

    Just saw this at Powell’s this weekend and it looked intriguing–now that you recommended it so highly I am definitely going to read it!

  • annemarie thomas February, 17 2016, 8:05 / Reply

    to all those who said they’re afraid to read or they don’t like sad books.
    i skimmed the parts when jude was a child but it went on and the things that happen in jude’s life (he really becomes the main character) when he is older made me feel good. i did not walk away from this feeling horrid or sad.

  • Il faut lire Le Chardonneret, de Donna Tartt, la densité des personnages et l’histoire sont prenantes. Mais je vous le conseille en vacances car pour les trajets maison-métro-boulot ce n’est pas vraiment adapté ;-))

    En tout cas il faut lire ;-)

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