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A Little Life

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A Little Life
A Little LIfe.jpg
Cover of the first U.S. edition
AuthorHanya Yanagihara
Cover artistPeter Hujar (photo)
Cardon Webb (design)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
PublisherDoubleday
Publication date
March 10th, 2015
Pages814
ISBN0-385-53925-8
813/.6
LC ClassPS3625.A674 L58 2015

A Little Life is a 2015 novel by American writer Hanya Yanagihara.[1] Despite the length and difficult subject matter, it became a critically acclaimed bestseller.[2]

Structure

A Little Life follows a chronological narrative with flashbacks frequently interspersed throughout. The novel's narrative perspectives shift throughout the story's progression. During the beginning of the novel, a third-person omniscient perspective privileging the thoughts of Jude, Willem, JB and Malcolm is employed. As the story gradually shifts its focus towards Jude, its perspective progressively molds entirely around each character's interactions with Jude and the experiences of Jude himself. This literary perspective is punctuated by first-person narratives told by an older Harold, nine years in the future.

The book is divided into seven parts:

  1. Lispenard Street
  2. The Postman
  3. Vanities
  4. The Axiom of Equality
  5. The Happy Years
  6. Dear Comrade
  7. Lispenard Street

Plot summary

The novel focuses on the lives of four friends: Jude St. Francis, a disabled genius with a mysterious past; Willem Ragnarsson, a kind, handsome man who aspires to be an actor; Malcolm Irvine, an architect working at a prestigious firm; and Jean-Baptiste "JB" Marion, a quick-witted painter who wants to make a name in the art world. The book follows their relationships changing under the influence of success, wealth, addiction, and pride.

The novel's main focus is the enigmatic lawyer, Jude. He suffers from a damaged spine which leaves him with a limp and excruciating pain in his legs that comes and goes. Unbeknownst to his friends, he also frequently self-harms, one such bout of cutting led Willem to take him to Andy Contractor, Jude's doctor and trusted friend. It is clear that he suffers from debilitating mental trauma from his childhood.

Despite this apparent closeness with his friends, Jude finds himself unable to divulge either detail of his past or current state of mind to his roommate. Nonetheless, he thrives in his law practice, and develops a close parent-child relationship with his former professor, Harold, and his wife Julia, which results in the pair adopting him when Jude turns thirty. While thankful, the time before the adoption is filled with further bouts of self-harm, as Jude believes he is inherently unworthy of affection. Meanwhile, the rest of the group finds success in their respective fields, with Willem becoming a star of theater and then film. JB finds success as an artist but also becomes addicted to crystal meth. The group stages an intervention, where JB mocks Jude by doing a crude imitation of his limp. In spite of successful treatment, and a great deal of apologizing, Jude finds it impossible to forgive JB. Willem refuses to forgive him too, causing the group to fragment, with only Malcolm remaining friends with all four members.

It becomes clear that Jude was sexually traumatized at a very young age, making it difficult for him to engage in romantic relationships. His friends and loved ones begin questioning this isolation as he enters his forties, with Willem especially being baffled with regard to Jude's sexuality. As his loneliness grows more intense, he enters an abusive relationship with fashion executive Caleb, who is disgusted by Jude's limp and his increasing use of a wheelchair. Jude finally breaks off the relationship after Caleb rapes him, and they meet a final time when Caleb follows him to dinner with Harold, humiliates him, and then follows Jude to his apartment, where he brutally beats and rapes him, leaving him for dead. Jude nonetheless refuses to report the incident to the police, believing he deserved it. Besides Harold, only Andy – Jude's doctor and ongoing confidante – knows the truth of the failed relationship.

Although Jude's body manages to heal, the rape causes him to flash back to his childhood, wherein he was raised in a monastery and repeatedly sexually assaulted by the brothers. He recalls a period when one of the brothers, Brother Luke, ran away with him, forcing him into years of child prostitution. After he was rescued by the police, Jude was placed in state care, where the abuse continued at the hands of the counselors there. After the break-up with Caleb brings back this childhood trauma, Jude finally decides to kill himself but survives the attempt. In the aftermath, Willem comes back home and begins to live with him. Jude continues to refuse therapy but begins to tell Willem the least traumatic stories about his childhood, which Willem finds disturbing and horrifying. The two soon begin a relationship, but Jude continues to struggle with opening up, and does not enjoy having sex with him.

In an attempt to curb his cutting, Jude decides to instead burn himself as a form of self-harm, but accidentally inflicts third-degree burns that require a skin graft. The wound is so severe that Andy tells him he has to tell Willem what happened, or else he will do it for him. Before Jude can tell Willem, Andy accidentally divulges the information. Willem is horrified but, after a difficult fight, Jude finally confesses that he does not enjoy sex, and tells Willem about the years of sexual and physical abuse he endured. Jude also reveals that he escaped state care at age 14 and hitchhiked, performing sexual acts as payment to drivers. He also explains to Willem that the damage to his legs was caused by a man called Dr. Traylor, who picked Jude up and held him captive while he cured him of venereal disease, assaulted him, and eventually ran him over with his car.

The relationship continues, with Willem sleeping with women (and not with Jude) for a while, until he eventually stops, due to a sense of guilt and uneasiness. The two settle into a comfortable life together, which is shaken when Jude's legs become worse, and he must reluctantly amputate. He manages to learn to walk again with his new prosthetics, and the pair enter a period of their life which Willem dubs "The Happy Years". However, while picking up Malcolm and his wife from the train station for a visit, Willem is involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, which kills all three occupants. With his close friend and lover dead, Jude descends once again into self-destructive habits, losing such an excessive amount of weight that his remaining loved ones stage another intervention. Though they are able to get him to gain weight and to attend therapy, years of depression and despair finally overtake Jude, and he takes his own life.

Themes

Happiness of having a home

JB was the only one with roots (a home) and he was able to spend a self-satisfied happy long life. Malcolm had cut his roots (leaving from home). Willem had weak roots (with a home he was not satisfied with). Jude had no roots and then found his roots with Harold and then after his friend's death, he was not even familiar with them. From the four friends, JB was the only one who had real roots and was the only one to have a long life.

Male relationships

A core focus of the novel is the evolution of the relationships between Jude, Willem, JB, Malcolm and Jude's adoptive father, Harold. Jude's life in particular is populated by men who love and care about him, as well as men that exploit and abuse him, and those who fall in the liminal spaces between the two categories. We see this directly from the moment that he follows Brother Luke into the greenhouse, as well as the moments in which he knew what he was doing in the motel rooms was wrong, but still had felt dedication and love for Luke since up until those moments in his life, he was the only person who was kind to him. The social and emotional lives of each male character are the fabric that weaves the novel together, creating an insular narrative bubble that provides few clues about the historical moment in which the story is situated.[3]

Yanagihara confines the reader's perspective and emphasizes the examination of the distinct interior lives of each character and the people that populate and influence their lives. There are few women dispersed throughout the story, as a result, the novel can be considered a rumination on the strengths and the limits of romantic love, friendship, and relationships among men.

Despite the various iterations of relationships and attempts to connect with Jude, his existence is often stagnated by isolation and loneliness in dealing with trauma and pain. His few attempts to reach out and connect with others during his adult life manifest in the repetition of yet another cycle of sexual abuse and trauma – his relationship with Caleb. The flashbacks to his abusive experiences with Dr. Traylor, Brother Luke, and boy's home counselors demonstrate the moral and affective extremes of abuse and exploitation that he experiences. Yet the novel invites juxtaposition by way of narration from Harold who shows a father's unconditional benevolent love to his adopted son.

Meanwhile, the analysis conducted on Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life is a dissertation by Edvinsson in 2019 which discuss the non-stereotypical masculinity of the main characters in the novel. Edvinsson (2019) uses the basis of gender stereotypes and Raewyn Connell's theory of hegemonic masculinity to analyze the masculinity of Yanagihara's male characters in A Little Life. It is found that the characters in Yanagihara's novel do not fit into the practices of hegemonic masculinity, as their masculinity is portrayed and combined with the so-called effeminacy and feminine traits, and therefore they are considered defying the typical gender roles the society legitimizes. Yanagihara's male characters tend to have a wide range of characterization which makes them carry the complex view of masculinity which does not suit the idea of hegemonic masculinity. The findings also show that hegemonic masculinity on men can be constantly changing over time. In conclusion, this analysis has indicated that the male characters in Yanagihara's A Little Life have the mixture of masculinity and femininity, with some implying the stronger masculinity side and the other carrying the stronger femininity side in them (Edvinsson, 2019).[4]

Trauma, recovery, and support

In an article written for New York Magazine, Yanagihara states that "one of the things [she] wanted to do with this book was create a protagonist who never got better… [for him] to begin healthy (or appear so) and end sick – both the main character and the plot itself".[1] The first sixteen years of Jude's life, plagued by sexual, physical, and psychological abuse, continue to haunt him as he enters adulthood. His trauma directly affects his mental and physical health, relationships, beliefs, and the ways in which he navigates the world. He struggles to move beyond the damage the past has wrought upon his body and psyche.

To Ana, Jude's deceased case manager who predates the novel's beginning, Willem, and Jude's psychiatrist later in the novel, Jude divulges almost none of his past to those close to him. The failure to understand Jude's trauma is a constant point of tension in the novel, as well as the subsequent frustration that stems from his inability to build mutual networks of support among his friends and family. Jude's friends, including Andy, are constantly plagued by doubts about the ethical choices such as allowing Jude to live independently while harboring the knowledge of his physically self-destructive behavior. Throughout the novel, Jude constantly apologizes for his actions and for the inability to take the help that would be given to him.

Writing in The New Yorker, Parul Sehgal called Jude "one of the most accursed characters to ever darken a page". She went on,

The story is built on the care and service that Jude elicits from a circle of supporters who fight to protect him from his self-destructive ways; truly, there are newborns envious of the devotion he inspires. The loyalty can be mortifying for the reader, who is conscripted to join in, as a witness to Jude's unending mortifications. Can we so easily invest in this walking chalk outline, this vivified DSM entry? With the trauma plot, the logic goes: evoke the wound and we will believe that a body, a person, has borne it.[5]

Chronic pain and disability

A Little Life depicts the everyday experience of living with trauma, chronic pain, and disability, demonstrating the inherent intersections with one another. As a direct result of Dr. Traylor running him over with a car, Jude's spinal injuries have long-term health effects that trouble him for the rest of his life. He is prone to episodes of intense pain due to severed nerves in his back, lesions forming on his legs, and has difficulty walking. His insistent inclination towards independence manifests in the ways he constantly resists and fights his body as it breaks down with age, despite numerous treatments and surgeries. Jude continually attempts to take control of his body and his emotions by self-harming. His life is structured around pain, and the anticipation of pain. As Jude grows older, he loathes the increasing dependence he must have on devices such as wheelchairs, canes, and on relying on the care of others.

Self-harm and suicide

There is evident self harm in the novel and Yanagihara does not shy away from the details of how Jude does it nor how he feels while doing so. Harold's realization is excruciatingly painful, more so than the news that Jude has indeed finally killed himself. Harold's self-deception does not save him or Jude from pain; if anything, it adds to both their suffering.[6]

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New York (magazine)

New York (magazine)

New York is an American biweekly magazine concerned with life, culture, politics, and style generally, and with a particular emphasis on New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite, and established itself as a cradle of New Journalism. Over time, it became more national in scope, publishing many noteworthy articles on American culture by writers such as Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Nora Ephron, John Heilemann, Frank Rich, and Rebecca Traister.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker

The New Yorker is an American weekly magazine featuring journalism, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. Founded as a weekly in 1925, the magazine is published 47 times annually, with five of these issues covering two-week spans. Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside New York and is read internationally. It is well known for its illustrated and often topical covers, its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric American culture, its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, its rigorous fact checking and copy editing, its journalism on politics and social issues, and its single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.

Parul Sehgal

Parul Sehgal

Parul Sehgal is an American literary critic based in New York, who publishes primarily in American venues. She is a former senior editor and columnist at The New York Times Book Review, and was one of the team of book critics at The New York Times. As of December 2021, she was a staff writer at The New Yorker, a position she was first reported to have taken in July 2021. She teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University.

Chalk outline

Chalk outline

A chalk outline is a temporary outline drawn on the ground outlining evidence at a crime scene. The outline provides context for photographs of the crime scene, and assists investigators in preserving the evidence. Modern investigators almost never use chalk or tape as outlines at a crime scene to avoid contaminating the evidence. Although rare in modern investigations, they have become a literary trope in popular culture.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a publication by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for the classification of mental disorders using a common language and standard criteria and is the main book for the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in the United States and is considered one of the "Bibles" of psychiatry along with the ICD, CCMD and the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual.

Psychological trauma

Psychological trauma

Psychological trauma, mental trauma or psychotrauma is an emotional response to a distressing event or series of events, such as accidents, rape, or natural disasters. Reactions such as psychological shock and psychological denial are typical. Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, difficulties with interpersonal relationships and sometimes physical symptoms including headaches or nausea.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is classified as pain that lasts longer than three to six months. In medicine, the distinction between acute and chronic pain is sometimes determined by the amount of time since onset. Two commonly used markers are pain that continues at three months and six months since onset, but some theorists and researchers have placed the transition from acute to chronic pain at twelve months. Others apply the term acute to pain that lasts less than 30 days, chronic to pain of more than six months duration, and subacute to pain that lasts from one to six months. A popular alternative definition of chronic pain, involving no fixed duration, is "pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing".

Disability

Disability

Disability is the experience of any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or have equitable access within a given society. Disabilities may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or a combination of multiple factors. Disabilities can be present from birth or can be acquired during a person's lifetime. Historically, disabilities have only been recognized based on a narrow set of criteria—however, disabilities are not binary and can be present unique characteristics depending on the individual. A disability may be readily visible, or invisible in nature.

Self-harm

Self-harm

Self-harm is intentional behavior that is considered harmful to oneself. This is most commonly regarded as direct injury of one's own skin tissues usually without a suicidal intention. Other terms such as cutting, self-injury and self-mutilation have been used for any self-harming behavior regardless of suicidal intent. It is not the same as masochism, as no sexual or nonsexual pleasure is obtained. The most common form of self-harm is using a sharp object to cut the skin. Other forms include scratching, hitting, or burning body parts. While earlier usage included interfering with wound healing, excessive skin-picking, hair-pulling, and the ingestion of toxins, current usage distinguishes these behaviors from self-harm. Likewise, tissue damage from drug abuse or eating disorders is not considered self-harm because it is ordinarily an unintended side-effect but context may be needed as intent for such acts varies.

Reception

Critical reception

At its publication, A Little Life was met with acclaim from The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications.[7][8][9][10][11] Review aggregator website Book Marks reported only three negative and three mixed reviews among 49 total – 34 critics gave the book a rave review, while the remaining nine expressed positive impressions.[12] In The Atlantic, Garth Greenwell suggested that A Little Life is "the long-awaited gay novel", as "it engages with aesthetic modes long coded as queer: melodrama, sentimental fiction, grand opera. By violating the canons of current literary taste, by embracing melodrama and exaggeration and sentiment, it can access emotional truth denied more modest means of expression".[13]

The New Yorker's Jon Michaud found A Little Life to be "a surprisingly subversive novel – one that uses the middle-class trappings of naturalistic fiction to deliver an unsettling meditation on sexual abuse, suffering, and the difficulties of recovery". He praised Yanagihara's rendering of Jude's abuse, saying it "never feels excessive or sensationalist. It is not included for shock value or titillation, as is sometimes the case in works of horror or crime fiction. Jude's suffering is so extensively documented because it is the foundation of his character". He concluded that the book "can also drive you mad, consume you, and take over your life. Like the axiom of equality, A Little Life feels elemental, irreducible – and, dark and disturbing though it is, there is beauty in it".[7]

In The Washington Post, Nicole Lee described Yanagihara's novel as "a witness to human suffering pushed to its limits, drawn in extraordinary detail by incantatory prose". She wrote that "through insightful detail and her decade-by-decade examination of these people's lives, Yanagihara has drawn a deeply realized character study that inspires as much as devastates. It's a life, just like everyone else's, but in Yanagihara's hands, it's also tender and large, affecting and transcendent; not a little life at all".[14]

Jeff Chu of Vox would "give A Little Life all of the awards". He said that no book he previously read had "captured as perfectly the inner life of someone hoarding the unwanted souvenirs of early trauma – the silence, the self-loathing, the chronic and aching pain" as this one, and found Yanagihara's prose to be "occasionally so stunning" that it would push him "back to the beginning of a paragraph for a second read". As he phrased it, "indeed, A Little Life may be the most beautiful, profoundly moving novel I've ever read. But I would never recommend it to anyone". Chu also said that Yanagihara's descriptions embodied his feelings, citing that "Jude's inability to address his wounds" compelled him to begin to address his own: "his struggle to find his peace emboldened me to try to find mine".[15]

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Sam Sacks called the story "an epic study of trauma and friendship, written with such intelligence and depth of perception that it will be one of the benchmarks against which all other novels that broach those subjects (and they are legion) will be measured". He said, "what's remarkable about this novel, and what sets it apart from so many books centered on damaged protagonists, is the poise and equanimity with which Ms. Yanagihara presents the most shocking aspects of Jude's life. There is empathy in the writing but no judgment, and Jude's suffering, though unfathomably extreme, is never used to extort a cheap emotional response".[8]

The Los Angeles Times's Steph Cha remarks that "A Little Life is not misery porn; if that's what you're looking for, you will be disappointed, denied catharsis. There are truths here that are almost too much to bear – that hope is a qualified thing, that even love, no matter how pure and freely given, is not always enough. This book made me realize how merciful most fiction really is, even at its darkest, and it's a testament to Yanagihara's ability that she can take such ugly material and make it beautiful".[11]

To NPR contributor John Powers, A Little Life is "shot through with pain", but "far from being all dark"; in fact, it is "an unforgettable novel about the enduring grace of friendship", he concluded.[10] Similarly, in Bustle, Ilana Masad wrote that Yanagihara explored "just what the title implies", which is, "the little bits of the little lives, so big when looked at close up, of four characters who live together in college and keep alive their friendship for decades after", and dubbed the novel "a remarkable feat, far from little in size, but worth every single page".[16] In addition to being critically praised, the book is popular: as of October 2021, it had more than 355,000 ratings on Goodreads, with an average of 4.3 out of 5.[17]

A notable negative opinion, however, appeared in The New York Review of Books. Daniel Mendelsohn sharply critiqued A Little Life for its technical execution, its depictions of violence, which he found ethically and aesthetically gratuitous, and its position with respect to the representation of queer life or issues by a presumed-heterosexual author.[18] Mendelsohn's review prompted a response from Gerald Howard, the book's editor, taking issue not with Mendelsohn's dislike of the book but "his implication that my author has somehow, to use his word, 'duped' readers into feeling the emotions of pity and terror and sadness and compassion", and his implication that the book only appeals to "college students and recent graduates who have been coddled by a permissive and endlessly solicitous university culture into 'see[ing] themselves not as agents in life but as potential victims'".[19]

Also, Christian Lorentzen, writing in the London Review of Books, referred to the main character's "gothic inverted fairytale origins" and "ghastly litany of childhood sexual abuse". The characters, he wrote, "seem like stereotypical middle-class strivers plucked out of 1950s cinema". He asked, in regard to JB, who becomes a crystal meth addict, "what real person trapped in this novel wouldn't become a drug addict?"[20] And The New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin said of the novel, "it might have had even more impact with fewer wild beasts prowling through fewer pages. But Ms. Yanagihara is still capable of introducing great shock value into her story to override its predictability. One major development here is gasp-inducingly unexpected, the stuff of life but also of melodrama. It may not lift the bleak mood, but it explains a lot about this voyeuristic book's popular success".[21]

In 2022, Naveen Kumar of the New York Times wrote about A Little Life, "The novel was greeted with widespread acclaim, heralded by The Atlantic as 'The Great Gay Novel' and pored over in tear-flooded book clubs. But its reputation has since become more divisive, with critics who consider its torment of Jude to be manipulative and excessive. [22]

Yanagihara appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to discuss the book.[23]

Awards and accolades

In July 2015, the novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize[24] and made the shortlist of six books in September 2015.[25] In 2019, A Little Life was ranked 96th on The Guardian's list of the 100 best books of the 21st century.[26]

Awards

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Garth Greenwell

Garth Greenwell

Garth Greenwell is an American novelist, poet, literary critic, and educator. He has published the novella Mitko (2011) and the novels What Belongs to You (2016) and Cleanness (2020). He has also published stories in The Paris Review and A Public Space and writes criticism for The New Yorker and The Atlantic.

Melodrama

Melodrama

A modern melodrama is a dramatic work in which the plot, typically sensationalized and for a strong emotional appeal, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Melodramas typically concentrate on dialogue that is often bombastic or excessively sentimental, rather than action. Characters are often flat, and written to fulfill stereotypes. Melodramas are typically set in the private sphere of the home, focusing on morality and family issues, love, and marriage, often with challenges from an outside source, such as a "temptress", a scoundrel, or an aristocratic villain. A melodrama on stage, filmed, or on television is usually accompanied by dramatic and suggestive music that offers cues to the audience of the drama being presented.

Grand opera

Grand opera

Grand opera is a genre of 19th-century opera generally in four or five acts, characterized by large-scale casts and orchestras, and lavish and spectacular design and stage effects, normally with plots based on or around dramatic historic events. The term is particularly applied to certain productions of the Paris Opéra from the late 1820s to around 1850; 'grand opéra' has sometimes been used to denote the Paris Opéra itself.

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper that started publishing in Los Angeles in 1881 and is now based in the adjacent suburb of El Segundo. It has the fifth-largest circulation in the U.S. and is the largest American newspaper not headquartered on the East Coast. The paper focuses its coverage of issues particularly salient to the West Coast, such as immigration trends and natural disasters. It has won more than 40 Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of these and other issues. As of June 18, 2018, ownership of the paper is controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong. It is considered a newspaper of record in the U.S.

NPR

NPR

National Public Radio is an American privately and state funded nonprofit media organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with its NPR West headquarters in Culver City, California. It differs from other non-profit membership media organizations such as Associated Press, in that it was established by an act of Congress. Most of its member stations are owned by non-profit organizations, including public school districts, colleges, and universities. It serves as a national syndicator to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the United States. As of September 2013, NPR employed 840 people.

Bustle (magazine)

Bustle (magazine)

Bustle is an online American women's magazine founded in August 2013 by Bryan Goldberg. It positions news and politics alongside articles about beauty, celebrities, and fashion trends. By September 2016, the website had 50 million monthly readers.

Goodreads

Goodreads

Goodreads is an American social cataloging website and a subsidiary of Amazon that allows individuals to search its database of books, annotations, quotes, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys, polls, blogs, and discussions. The website's offices are located in San Francisco.

Daniel Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn, is an American author, essayist, critic, columnist, and translator. Best known for his internationally best-selling and award-winning Holocaust family memoir The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, he is currently the Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College, the Editor at Large of the New York Review of Books, and the Director of the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting writers of nonfiction.

Media portrayal of LGBT people

Media portrayal of LGBT people

Historically, the portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in media have been negative, reflecting the cultural intolerance of LGBT individuals; however, from the 1990s to present day, there has been an increase in the depictions of LGBT people, issues, and concerns within mainstream media in North America. The LGBT communities have taken an increasingly proactive stand in defining their own culture, with a primary goal of achieving an affirmative visibility in mainstream media. The positive portrayal or increased presence of the LGBT communities in media has served to increase acceptance and support for LGBT communities, establish LGBT communities as a norm, and provide information on the topic.

London Review of Books

London Review of Books

The London Review of Books (LRB) is a British literary magazine published twice monthly that features articles and essays on fiction and non-fiction subjects, which are usually structured as book reviews.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a second-line treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. Methamphetamine was discovered in 1893 and exists as two enantiomers: levo-methamphetamine and dextro-methamphetamine. Methamphetamine properly refers to a specific chemical substance, the racemic free base, which is an equal mixture of levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine in their pure amine forms. It is rarely prescribed over concerns involving human neurotoxicity and potential for recreational use as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant, among other concerns, as well as the availability of safer substitute drugs with comparable treatment efficacy such as Adderall and Vyvanse. Dextromethamphetamine is a stronger CNS stimulant than levomethamphetamine.

Janet Maslin

Janet Maslin

Janet R. Maslin is an American journalist, best known as a film and literary critic for The New York Times. She served as a Times film critic from 1977 to 1999 and as a book critic from 2000 to 2015. In 2000 Maslin helped found the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York. She is president of its board of directors.

Adaptations

The theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam debuted Koen Tachelet's adaptation of A Little Life on September 23, 2018, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ivo van Hove directed the adaptation, which had a run time of over four hours.[33] Van Hove collaborated with Yanagihara on the script after being given copies of the novel by two friends.[34] Ramsey Nasr played the lead Jude St. Francis in the adaptation, which received positive reviews. Theatre critic Matt Trueman wrote that, despite the play's sometime suffocating trauma and violence, it "is van Hove at his best, theatre that leaves an ineradicable mark".[35] The Dutch-language production with English subtitles was shown at the 2022 Edinburgh International Festival[36] and in October 2022 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.[37]

In August 2020, the theatre company Liver & Lung presented an unofficial musical adaptation of A Little Life in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[38] Seven songs from the album were released on Spotify on January 7th, 2022, to celebrate the release of Yanagihara's new novel, To Paradise.[39]

An English-language version of Tachelet's stage adaptation will premiere in March 2023 at the Richmond Theatre in South West London, followed by West End run at the Harold Pinter Theatre.[40]

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Toneelgroep Amsterdam

Toneelgroep Amsterdam

Toneelgroep Amsterdam is the largest repertory company in the Netherlands. Its home base is the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg, a classical 19th century theatre building in the heart of Amsterdam.

Ivo van Hove

Ivo van Hove

Ivo van Hove is a Belgian theatre director known as the artistic director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam in the Netherlands and for his Off-Broadway avant-garde experimental theatre productions. On Broadway, he has directed revival productions of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, and The Crucible, Lee Hall's Network in 2018, and Stephen Sondheim's West Side Story in 2020. Among his numerous awards he has received a Tony Award and a Laurence Olivier Award for A View from the Bridge. He was made a Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 2004, and a Commander in the Order of the Crown in 2016.

Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr is a Dutch author and actor of mixed descent, half Palestinian, half Dutch.

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival is an annual arts festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, spread over the final three weeks in August. Notable figures from the international world of music and the performing arts are invited to join the festival. Visual art exhibitions, talks and workshops are also hosted.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Brooklyn Academy of Music

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is a performing arts venue in Brooklyn, New York City, known as a center for progressive and avant-garde performance. It presented its first performance in 1861 and began operations in its present location in 1908. The Academy is incorporated as a New York State not-for-profit corporation. It has 501(c)(3) status.

Spotify

Spotify

Spotify is a proprietary Swedish audio streaming and media services provider founded on 23 April 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. It is one of the largest music streaming service providers, with over 456 million monthly active users, including 195 million paying subscribers, as of September 2022. Spotify is listed on the New York Stock Exchange in the form of American depositary receipts.

To Paradise

To Paradise

To Paradise is a 2022 novel by American novelist Hanya Yanagihara. The book, Yanagihara's third, takes place in an alternate version of New York City, and has three sections, respectively set in 1893, 1993, and 2093. Though a bestseller, the novel received mixed reviews from critics.

Richmond Theatre

Richmond Theatre

The present Richmond Theatre, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is a British Victorian theatre located on Little Green, adjacent to Richmond Green. It opened on 18 September 1899 with a performance of As You Like It. One of the finest surviving examples of the work of theatre architect Frank Matcham, the building, in red brick with buff terracotta, is listed Grade II* by Historic England. John Earl, writing in 1982, described it as "[o]f outstanding importance as the most completely preserved Matcham theatre in Greater London and one of his most satisfying interiors."

West End theatre

West End theatre

West End theatre is mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres in and near the West End of London. Along with New York City's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London. Famous screen actors, British and international alike, frequently appear on the London stage.

Harold Pinter Theatre

Harold Pinter Theatre

The Harold Pinter Theatre, known as the Comedy Theatre until 2011, is a West End theatre, and opened on Panton Street in the City of Westminster, on 15 October 1881, as the Royal Comedy Theatre. It was designed by Thomas Verity and built in just six months in painted (stucco) stone and brick. By 1884 it was known as simply the Comedy Theatre. In the mid-1950s the theatre underwent major reconstruction and re-opened in December 1955; the auditorium remains essentially that of 1881, with three tiers of horseshoe-shaped balconies.

Source: "A Little Life", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 28th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Little_Life.

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References
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  4. ^ Rasikhah, S. A. (2021). Male homosociality performed by the main male characters in Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life (Doctoral dissertation, Universitas Islam Negeri Maulana Malik Ibrahim).
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  6. ^ Rushton, A. (2019). A Bubble in the Vein: Suicide, Community, and the Rejection of Neoliberalism in Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life and Miriam Toews's All My Puny Sorrows. In World Literature, Neoliberalism, and the Culture of Discontent (pp. 195-213). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. [1]
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