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Book Review: ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara

For the duration of time that I was reading this book, I referred to it as “800 pages of pain”. And it is exactly that, but with bouts of mania and happiness and friendship intensely woven into its narrative. It is written with such a beautiful rawness that 800 pages (albeit painful) passed very quickly (this is a good thing, although I found myself wanting more when it was over).

The novel explores the lives of four friends, each with their own baggage and idiosyncrasies, and follows them from their young adulthood to middle age. Written in several “volumes”, points of view change almost as quickly as reader emotions. I didn’t think I was a particularly sensitive reader, but a note of warning: this book is not for the light-hearted and certainly not to be read in planes – because even the strongest of us cry at altitudes. I learned this the hard way. Recommend 10/10 unless you’re feeling emotionally fragile.

Irene Katopodis

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