Episode 28 - Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life - Part 2


In the second part of our lunch-time chat with Hanya Yanagihara for the amazing A Little Life, we began by discussing how her second book was a reaction to her debut, the also amazing The People in the Trees.

  • ‘I just wanted to do something that felt a little dangerous, in a sense. I wanted to do something that felt inescapable.’
  • ‘I wanted to try to create that quality of not being able to deny Jude’s life, because so much of Jude’s life is people denying him in one way or the other.’
  • the exaggerated, overly intense feeling of the novel
  • ‘I wanted the reader to feel drugged’
  • her frustration with emotionally stingy novels that hold you at arm’s length
  • the models, from visual art, that inspired A Little Life
  • on technology the commodification of friendship
  • jealousy, envy and the thrill of messy friendship
  • Jude and the problems of being a friend
  • talking, story-telling and the problem of personal pain
  • was writing A Little Life therapeutic for Yanagihara herself?
  • ‘It is a personal book, not so much based on content as based on ways of coming to terms with how you think about your own history’
  • turning 40: what next?
  • responses to A Little Life
  • A Little Life as a New York novel
  • Yanagihara and the laziness of brand names
  • models for Jude
  • ‘This book is a lot about absences’: family and surviving tragedy
  • is A Little Life an angry book?
  • on the institutions that failed Jude
  • Yanagihara and the allure of male relationships
  • ‘I find men very interesting because there are a lot of things as men you are never allowed to discuss, never allowed to feel and never allowed to put voice to.’

Part three will follow next week.

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