As far as reading experiences go, A Little Life was the most challenging one I've ever had. If you know, you know.
I'm not ashamed to say this is the first book that made me cry. If you haven't cried while reading, Hanya's got you covered.
Emotions aside, A Little Life is extraordinary. It spans decades and tells the story of four college classmates through multiple perspectives. The characters feel so real. Ultimately that's what makes everything hit so hard.
Hanya gives us a window into a life. From start to finish. We're gifted with moments of pure joy and others that will disgust you more than you've felt in a long time (or ever?). It's a book that is heartbreaking. It's a book that's probably been experienced by more people than I'd like to admit.
I was constantly impressed by how Hanya could frame such terrible things (abuse, depression) with prose that is both vivid and beautiful. Both raw and poetic. One of my favourite things about books is that I get to experience lives and experiences I never would have otherwise. This is a book full of experiences I would prefer not to have directly. Still, the perspective was refreshing.
A Little Life is outside the realm of books I typically read. I'm drawn to science, sci-fi, and fantasy. I want to keep reaching for books on shelves outside of those categories. This is a book that will stick with me for a while. I'm particularly interested in finding more gems like this.