I love, love, love Hanya Yanighara. I found a copy of People in the Trees in a second hand bookshop in Seoul and raced through it. She spent 10 years writing it, and you can tell. It has all sorts of wonderful little touches that only appear in books that have taken years to come together. The knock-out scene for me has to be the midnight walk to the mountain lake where Perina sees the turtles for the first time. It’s mesmerising.
A little Life is quite a different beast. A literal beast as well, it’s 700 pages long and an an emotional one too. If People in the Trees is a slightly painful massage, A Little Life is an outright punch in the face. This is the first book I ever read that made me cry. The last 5 pages are absolutely heart wrenching.
It has its faults though, I thought the bad characters were under developed, we never got to know why they did the things they did to Jude, they were just bad and that was it. And the Uber-success of the four friends was crazy, but you can understand why she did it, having no money would have complicated their stories too much and got in the way of Jude’s already substantial problems.
If you can get hold of a copy, get the American edition of Little Life, the cover art blows the UK version out of the water.
Books – click on the covers to find reviews
The Guardian, July 26th 2015
Kill your darlings, 20th May 2016