Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Little Life shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

From The Atlantic:
Variously called “a dark fairytale,” “a miserabilist epic,” and even “the great gay novel,” Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life is a wildcard in this year’s Man Booker prize competition. The relentlessly bleak 720-page novel has found a large audience in both the U.S. and the U.K., as well as on social media. No one anticipated such a surge of acclaim: Yanagihara’s editor worried that the book was too long and too gruesome. Yanagihara—whose first novel, The People in the Trees, was praised when it came out two years ago but sold poorly—hoped for a “few dozen readers.” But by the time A Little Life made it onto the Man Booker Prize longlist in July, there was next to no doubt: This book would claim a spot on the shortlist, too.
Yanagihara is a little-known novelist, so more power to her. As I've written here before, I think the book is a great accomplishment, but its horror borders on pornographic. The writing is exquisite, but it left me feeling manipulated, in no small part that it breaks a lot of rules of what "good" fiction is, at least by contemporary standards.