A Little Life: Hanya Yanagihara

★★★★½

This is going to be hard to write about, and not because I don’t know what to say, but because I don’t know how to say it. I want to use words that I customarily turn to when speaking of things I admire: brilliant, magnificent, splendid, astonishing. But such words neuter the power of this book and render it somehow superficial and glittery, when what I actually want to convey is that this novel one moment twists your stomach and ties knots in your throat, and the next offers you a moment of beauty as perfect and transitory as sunlight reflecting off a lacquered bowl. I’m not sure I can express how good this book is without trivialising it. If I say that, on finishing it, I sat in the shadows and actually wept with rage and the poignant shame of it, that might give you some idea of its impact.

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