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Sooner or later, I would get to a sentence like “Jude was taught to cut himself by Brother Luke” and would be unable to imagine myself reading such a book.
As for the negative reviews—which were less numerous but sometimes written by close friends with whom I often agreed about books—they seemed to be describing a genuinely problematic text.
I didn’t appreciate the ready-made importance or seriousness that seemed to be conferred by the subject matter. K., the subject of many enthusiastic reviews and reader testimonials, and a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award.
I thought it was great that books like that existed, and I knew they met a need, but they weren’t for me.“A Little Life” became one of the most-talked-about books of 2015, a best-seller in the U. (It has now begun to appear on end-of-the-year top-ten lists.) I read some of the positive reviews.
I first heard about Hanya Yanagihara’s “A Little Life”—a seven-hundred-and-twenty-page, four-friends-in-New-York novel that unexpectedly morphs into the saga of the self-loathing and self-harm of the disabled survivor of serial homosexual pedophilia—I didn’t plan on reading it.
This decision was based on a belief I formed about myself as a child in the nineteen-eighties: some people, I saw, really liked to read novels about foster children who had flashbacks to terrible encounters with pedophiles or other abusers, but I usually preferred books that were about other things.
I was interested to note that the scenes of cutting and child rape were intercut with another genre of writing that I normally don’t care for: “Sex and the City”-style lifestyle porn.
Everyone in the book is or becomes famous or prestigious or powerful; they have Whitney retrospectives and win “major awards.” Conveniently, Malcolm becomes a famous architect and is able to outfit his friends’ So Ho lofts and upstate farmhouses with bathtubs made of “cypress sourced from Gifu”; Jude’s country house includes a barn modified in such a way that all the walls can rise up, letting in the smell of the tree peonies and wisteria.
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One of the novel’s most exasperated reviewers, Daniel Mendelsohn, characterized “A Little Life” a hallmark of “a culture where victimhood has become a claim to status,” hypothesizing that the “unending parade of aesthetically gratuitous scenes of punitive and humiliating violence” must appeal to readers by “confirming their preexisting view of the world as a site of victimization.” Still more damningly, to my mind, Mendelsohn claimed that the novel was, in its way, “regressive and repressive,” portraying a world in which gay people were “eventually punished for finding happiness.” If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when characters living out some fantasy (adulterous or promiscuous women, for example) are subjected by the author to horrible punishments, intended to show that nobody gets away with it.
And yet, there was the interesting fact that Mendelsohn, like so many other critics, was still writing about “A Little Life,” months after its publication—and that everyone who read the novel seemed to have strong feelings about it.
There are a lot of parties in “A Little Life,” where recherché foodstuffs (gougères, herbed shortbread, cornmeal gingersnaps) are consumed by interesting, accomplished friends and lovers.
I was mystified at first as to how I was able to tolerate, let alone devour, a book so devoted to two of my least-favorite literary topoi (pedophilia, lifestyles of the rich and glamorous).
Mål: 97-64-90 cm Højde: 165 cm Vægt: 55 kg Det fortælles, at hun var funktionær i en bank i Brønshøj, hvor hun blev opdaget af en kunde som var fotograf.