A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara. Doubleday, $30 (736p) ISBN 978-0-385-
Yanagihara follows her 2013 debut novel, The People in
the Trees, with an epic American tragedy. The story begins
with four college friends moving to New York City to begin
their careers: architect Malcolm, artist JB, actor Willem, and
lawyer Jude. Early on, their concerns are money and job
related as they try to find footholds in their respective fields.
Over the course of the book, which spans three decades, we
witness their highs and lows as they face addiction, deception, and abuse, and their relationships falter and strengthen.
The focus narrows as the story unspools—and really, this is
Jude’s story. Unlike his friends, who have largely ordinary
lives, Jude has a horrific trauma in his past, and his inner
demons are central to the story. Throughout the years, Jude
struggles to keep his terrible childhood secret and to trust
those who love him. He cuts himself and contemplates suicide, even as his career flourishes and his friends support
him. This is a novel that values the everyday over the extraordinary, the push and pull of human relationships—and the
book’s effect is cumulative. There is real pleasure in following
characters over such a long period, as they react to setbacks
and successes, and, in some cases, change. By the time the
characters reach their 50s and the story arrives at its moving
conclusion, readers will be attached and find them very hard
to forget. (Mar.)
Boys to Men
Pick of the week
17 M.F.A. Update
In our latest survey, we look at M.F.A. programs focused on children’s writing, including Simmons College in Boston, the big player
in the field.
23 Kilt by Death
We roam the highlands and wade through the bogs of Scottish crime
4 The War Is Over
An agreement between HBG and Amazon puts an end to a long and
bitter dispute over e-book terms.
5 Amazon Buys .book
After it bought the top-level domain last week, some are concerned
that the e-tailer won’t make domain names ending in .book available
to the public for purchase.
5 The Weekly Scorecard
Unit sales of print books fell 2% in the week ended Nov. 9, 2014,
compared to the similar week last year, at outlets that report to
6 HC Launches Direct-Sales Program
The initiative, which rewards authors who link to their titles directly
on harpercollins.com, has some booksellers worried about lost
9 Digital Comics
Six months after Amazon’s purchase of Comixology, questions
remain about the future of the digital comics marketplace.