Book reviews – November 2023 – Sallie Eden – A Little Life

A Little Life By Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Picador



Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and called ‘brilliant’, ‘magical’, ‘absorbing’ and ‘engrossing’ by various critics, this is the story of four ambitious and, frankly, irritating College friends who move to New York.



At over 700 pages it seemed to me to be at least 600 pages too long. In fact I read more than a hundred pages before anything much happened, although, to be fair, I had by then decided that I wouldn’t want to meet any of them, even the ‘kind, handsome aspiring actor’ and certainly not the ‘quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world’.

At the heart of this tedious and overlong story is a serious topic, but its message is lost within pages of dreary trivia and constant repetition. That said, thousands of other people have read it and/or seen the play. Many of them said they loved it.

So why did I persevere to the end? Well, Dear Reader, I read it so you don’t have to.

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