UK Publishing Date: 22 Oct 2015. 736 pages.
I can honestly say that it took me the best part of a month to get through this book. “A Little Life” is a deceptive title for a tome that weighs in at over 730 pages and is one of the most profoundly depressing books I have read for a long time. I had to keep putting it down and reading something lighter, then coming back to it. Be warned that a lot of the scenes in the book are very graphic and often very disturbing.
That said, this is a book with meaning. A book about life, warts and all. It covers some pretty serious subjects like sexual abuse, self harm, substance abuse, psychological trauma etc. I think it took me so long to get through because there is this pervasive sense of a deep and enduring sadness that threatens to leach all happiness out of your soul. I just had to have a break from it or I felt like I would snap.
The story centres on four friends moving to New York but essentially this is Jude’s story. His pain. His struggle. His experiences of childhood sexual abuse influencing his present relationships.
This is a marmite book – you’ll either love it and think it is the best book ever or you’ll start to dry heave just thinking about your own experiences with it. Personally I’m erring on the side of the dry heaving but I can respect it as a major piece of literature and a very intelligently written piece of prose.
It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.
Supplied by Net Galley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
You can get the book here: A Little Life