by Hanya Yanagihara
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Release date: March 10, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary
Hardback: 736 pages
The Eleventh Apartment had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a T-shirt and shorts even though it was October, smoking.
Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its publisher.
When four classmates 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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
The cover says it all. It was a pleasure and pain to read this chunkster of a book. And, it lasted about 3 months long for me. I read it off and on. Small doses worked for me as some scenes were intense and others required pondering and still others I wanted to just hold on to the happiness state before the next drama. My attention was captured each time and there was no doubt that I would finish this book.
I love how the author breathes life into her characters by getting into the fine details and aspects of her character's lives. There is a touch of fantasy with the characters in that you have them so perfect one way and so flawed in others. However, this just makes her messages hit home with emotional punches.
From this I roller coaster ride of emotions in this book, I was left with thoughts evoked by the themes of loneliness and friendship.