A Little Life Audiobook

Original price was: $27.00.Current price is: $8.20.

(51473 customer reviews)



Audio Length

32 hours

Release Date

Oct 22, 2015


M4B, MP3, Unabridged Audiobook


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SKU: 9781509822690 Category: Tags: ,


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

51473 reviews

51473 reviews for A Little Life Audiobook

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  1. Verified owner Thomas

    I slept with this book after I read it. I kid you not: I held its bulking, hardcover bound 700 pages in my arms as I fell asleep amid a raging storm. I refused to let A Little Life leave me. Its brilliant writing, its broken characters, and its bleak, unforgiving story dug into my heart, into the very pores of my skin. As a twenty-year-old, I felt both so young and so old upon finishing this novel, as if its sheer humanity aged my soul while making me appreciate all the years I still have left.

    A Little Life follows four friends after they graduate from a small, prestigious Massachusetts college: Willem, a kind and talented actor; JB, a sharp and sometimes-caustic artist, Malcolm, an aspiring architect at a well-known firm; and Jude, a mysterious and intelligent litigator. What looks like an average bildungsroman turns into an intense and tragic tale when we learn about enigmatic Jude’s backstory. Abandoned at a monastery at birth, he endured a childhood of severe physical and emotional abuse, followed by several years of sexual abuse, forced prostitution, and psychological trauma. The book soon hones in on Jude’s struggle to free himself from the demons of his past, the hyenas that howl and drown out the voices of his closest, most beloved friends.

    This book is relentlessly sad and exquisitely written. Hanya Yanagihara spares us no mercy when revealing Jude’s trauma. She details both his past abuse and his present self-harm with explicit specificity, her diction so precise and piercing it made me shake, and at times, sob. Yanagihara writes both Jude’s suffering and his friendships with a keen eye. She captures the nuances of human emotion, physical space, and change over time with eloquence and heart. She writes about some of the most wretched, abominable acts of cruelty I have ever read without sentimentalizing any of the abuse or making any of the characters’ feelings mawkish.

    Yanagihara offers us temporary respite from the pain within Jude’s past by showing us the power of friendship. A Little Life’s most affective moments come not from its graphic depictions of violence, but from its quiet, uplifting portrayals of compassion. While the many abusive men in Jude’s earlier life show us the depth of human atrocity, Jude’s tender, bittersweet relationships with Willem, Harold, Andy, and others offer to us mankind’s capacity for kindness. All of these complex characters make mistakes, and through their imperfections shines their humanness.

    Please keep in mind: A Little Life is ruthlessly depressing. In the end, Jude really receives no reprieve from his anguish. As someone who has suffered his own abuse – a version less intense than Jude’s, yet still real – and as someone who reads a lot about abuse, I appreciated Yanagihara’s dedication to showing the darker side of reality. Trauma is trauma is trauma. And while we can all fight for recovery, sometimes that absolvement may never come. Sometimes, we just have to act with whatever kindness we have left and hope that it brings even a moment of light into the dark.

    Highly recommended to anyone who wants their heart both filled and destroyed. Set aside some quality time for A Little Life. It will consume you.

  2. Verified owner Jessica Woodbury

    It may sound presumptuous to say in January that I’ve read the best book I’ve read all year, but reading is a lot like love. Sometimes you just know.

    A LITTLE LIFE is a title with 3 meanings. First, it refers to its protagonist, Jude, a man who cannot ever accept that his life is worthwhile. Second, it refers to the act of reading it, spending time in this book is really like living a version of life.

    There is a third meaning, one that you don’t discover until around halfway through the book when the title’s words are used in a context that is like a punch to the gut. When you read them you may find yourself having a physical reaction, your stomach may flip, your skin may go cold, you may gasp for breath. And that is a lot of what the experience of reading this book is like. You can call these parts of the book words like “awful,” but to be real you’d need to pull out your thesaurus and just line them up one after the other. This is not a book that is easy for your emotions. You care about the people in it, so the pain can really hurt you.

    You will hear that this is a book about 4 friends. It’s not. They’re a nice framing device, but this is a book about one person and the people who are connected to him. His life is made up of extremes. I found myself weeping over and over again because of the love and compassion and kindness that characters in the book displayed. But this book has some of the most harrowing and horrifying scenes I’ve read anywhere. It is not really spoiling anything to say this involves terrible things happening to a child. Everyone knows from the very beginning that something bad happened to Jude when he was young. It’s just so much worse than you could imagine. (If you have trouble reading about child abuse, it’s probably best you not read this book. While it’s essential to the story, it is not glossed over or referenced vaguely and what is described is truly terrible to contemplate.)

    Jude is not a new character. The damaged soul whose self-worth never really recovers is present in a lot of modern fiction. Yanagihara’s trick, I think, is just how willing she is to plumb the depths of his darkness and its effects on those around him. She follows him for decades, observes him in all situations, and is unflinching in her depictions. Her writing is the kind of good that you can miss if you’re not paying attention. You are so caught up in her story that it’s easy to miss just how agile and careful the book is. It eases back and forth from character to character, backwards and forwards in time, and it never feels strained.

    I stayed up for hours to finish this book and then couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t let it go. I was overcome by the book and by the loss of finishing it.

    This is a book about love and what it means and what it can do and it is the humanity of its characters and their love for each other that will stick with me.

    If it was presumptuous to say this is my favorite book of 2015 since it tries to predict the future, I do feel that I can dig through the past and assert with certainty that this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  3. Verified owner Maxwell

    I can’t, with a clear conscience, give this book anything less than 5 stars. It’s a book that kept me reading long into the night, made me turn each page with vigor and curiosity, gave me chills and shivers over the joys and sorrows of each character, and ultimately left me feeling a bit older and tortured and yet at peace with the deeply complicated nature of humanity.

    What Hanya Yanagihara does with A Little Life is nothing nearly as pretentious as that paragraph above. Somehow in 720 pages, she manages to adequately–better yet, excellently–show and make the reader experiences the lives of these young men. The novel follows four boys who meet at college: Malcolm, JB, Willem, and the central and mysterious figure, Jude. It’s truly Jude’s tale, but Yanagihara ends up telling each and every one of the boys’ stories with ease and genuineness that makes them real.

    Her prose is clean and honest and revealing of the many emotions that humans experience. It’s never explicitly beautiful, not flowery or overwrought with adjectives or descriptors. But it has its own beauty that comes from its ability to convey these feelings, making you feel every pain or happiness that Malcolm and JB and Willem and Jude feel. It’s some of the best prose I’ve read in a while (or ever read), and I wanted it to keep going on forever.

    There’s so much more I could say about this book. About how it hurt me to read at times–because yes, there is very graphic material (i.e. self-harm, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, drug use) that makes the reading cringeworthy in parts–about how I fell in love with so many wonderful people in this story, about how I learned empathy and sorrow and frustration and anger for and with each of them, and how if I were to write a book I would want it to have the essence of this one.

    The truth is, though, I can’t recommend this book to people, not without knowing them very well. Because it’s a difficult journey that I can’t suggest everyone take. Don’t take this book lightly. But if you do choose to read it, if you choose to flip to that first page, be prepared for something inexplicable and jarring, but resilient and beautiful and ultimately worthwhile.

  4. Verified owner emma

    The edition I read is 951 pages long, and I read it in 24 hours. My sister calculated that I read a page every waking minute, even as it was a workday. I have never in my life lived inside a story like I did this one.

    I slept little. I couldn’t focus on anything. When I tried to pick up books after this one they were pale imitations to what I had learned storytelling could be.

    I have never loved characters like this, like I knew them. I have never gasped and cried and said “nonono” like I did with this.

    This HURT.

    So while it was an extraordinary experience, a one-of-a-kind story, maybe something I would otherwise have perceived as the type of book that keeps us reading…

    Don’t pick it up.

    Because not only is this book so goddamn painful (and yes, everything you’ve heard about how sad this is is true tenfold), but it makes other stories feel less.

  5. Verified owner Emily

    If you want to find yourself sobbing late at night for characters you grow so attached to and have to put down the book for a while… this is it.

    It’s been a very long time since a book utterly broke me.

    Beautifully written character driven book (see I like them sometimes!) about our friends meeting in university in New York. It’s about their lives, their careers, their friendships, their high points but mostly their low ones.

    Trigger warnings for… everything.

  6. Verified owner Alexander Patino

    You get a first read only once. I don’t know what to say. It’s the book of my life. Not that it mirrors my life, but that it’s the literary love of my life. I know I get hyperbolic about this kind of stuff, but it is what it is. The most cathartic reading experience I’ve ever had. I’m shaking and crying writing this. How to move on after this one – hard to imagine I will.

  7. Verified owner jessica

    i have died a hundred deaths and shed a thousand tears whilst reading this book. it feels as if i have never truly known grief until this moment. how does one recover from such heartbreak?

    i am at a complete loss, in a devastatingly beautiful way; but how comforting it is to know that a story about a little life has become such a significant part of mine.

  8. Verified owner Roxane

    Brilliant, devastating, heartbreaking. Fucking hatefully sad at times. There are places that are overwrought and overwritten but this is an amazing, engrossing novel. Just wow.

  9. Verified owner Nick Pageant

    A Little Life is a powerful, disturbing novel. It’s full of pain, desperation, and a sense of isolating sadness that sucks the reader into some very dark places. It’s also the best book I’ve read in years.

    Reading the blurb, you’ll get the idea that this work is about 4 college friends and their lives, but that’s not entirely true. While each of the 4 main characters, and in fact all the characters in the book, are fully realized with extraordinary character development, the book is really about just one man, Jude St. Francis.

    Jude is a truly broken person; he’s been broken by a childhood that is both a series of horrors that are difficult to read about and a testament to what a human being can endure. Jude doesn’t come out of his childhood whole and I feel a little broken by having read about his life. I also feel that strange happiness that comes from being emotionally purged in the way that only great books can accomplish.

    As Alona mentioned in her review, this is not a romance, but it is a love story. It’s a love story about friendship that tries to overcome pain, and the bravery and sacrifice that true friendship and love sometimes require. The romance in this book is a beautiful one, but not in the traditional sense that a reader might expect or want for the characters involved.

    We all often say that we loved this character or that character in one of the many books that we read, I know I say it often, but the character of Jude St. Francis is something special. I loved Jude more than I’ve loved any character before; that’s probably why he was capable of so thoroughly breaking my heart. I wanted so much for him, I wanted him to be so much and get so much in life. He didn’t get all that I wanted for him, but in the end, I was satisfied with where he ended up and it seemed fitting and very real.

    I hate the term “triggers”, but it’s appropriate here. I have a few triggers of my own and they were part of this book, but I felt the writing here just brought me into those places that I don’t like to go and left me, not upset or feeling traumatized, but more appreciative of my own ability to survive and thrive. I wanted to reach into the book and take Jude’s hand and tell him we’d get through it together.

    This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re up to it, you’ll be thrilled by the writing. There’s pain here, and beauty along with it.

    Big thanks to Alona for the many messages we exchanged while reading this. It sounds silly, but I feel as if the two of us have survived something together.

  10. Verified owner Ali Goodwin

    Where to even begin reviewing this book? I just finished this book today, and I am so emotionally drained it’s hard to put my thoughts into words.

    If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be devastating. This book is heartbreaking and emotional and full of so much trauma. The main character Jude suffers trauma after trauma after trauma, which the author describes in heartbreaking detail.

    Despite this book’s emotional pain, there are moments of hope, beautiful characters, and loving relationships. Maybe the coolest part of this book is that we follow Jude through his entire life. I have never ever read a book before where we get such a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of our main character’s life.

    If you choose to read this book, proceed with extreme caution. There are so many trigger warnings, and it is such an emotional read, but if you feel that you are in the right headspace to read it, it will be a worthwhile read on trauma and friendship.

    And to Jude: you deserved so much better

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