A Little Life - A Photo Story

04 March 2016

Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life, explains how her novel took on a visual life online and takes us through some of her favourite images shared by fans:  

A Little Life was born of images: I’d been collecting them—photographs, paintings—long before I began writing, and it was these that guided the book in both concept and detail.

So it seemed only right to return the book to images. Shortly before the U.S. publication, my friend and social media manager Leonor Mamanna and I began a feed on Instagram, @alittlelifebook. Leonor is a photo editor, and she asked some of her photographer friends to shoot an original piece of art based on a specific scene or few lines of text. We hoped readers would not only appreciate these visualizations from the book—the motel rooms where Jude might have stayed, for example; or the bacteria-shaped cookies he baked for Harold; or JB’s messy studio—but that these pictures would encourage a different sort of intimacy with the world of the novel.

What we didn’t expect was that the feed would become a sort of always-open, ever-growing club, where readers could come and relive the book. The first time a reader took his own photograph for us to post, we were giddy. All these months later, we still are. It’s given this novel another, extended life on a different platform, and one that’s defined not by words, but by pictures. JB would have loved it. I hope you do, too.

Photo courtesy of @heyitsfranklin2

 

Photo courtesy of @heyitsfranklin2

 

Photo courtesy of @gab

 

Photo courtesy of @mina.fanous

 

Photo courtesy of @mina.fanous

 

 

Lispenard Street No. 2 by @philipmaltman. #alittlelifebook

A photo posted by A Little Life: A Novel (@alittlelifebook) on

Photo courtesy of @philipmaltman

 

Photo courtesy of @ryanpfluger

 

Photo courtesy of @ryanpfluger 

 

 

Take 2: "The men brought their own towels and their own sheets..." pg. 398. Photograph by Kate Cunningham, @kate_cunningham_ #alittlelifebook

A photo posted by A Little Life: A Novel (@alittlelifebook) on

Photo courtesy of @kate_cunningham_

 

Photo courtesy of @kate_cunningham_ 

 

Photo courtesy of @christaanfelber

 

Photo courtesy of @christaanfelber

 

Photo courtesy of @christaanfelber  

 

Photo courtesy of @bowles3c 

 

 

"Cleaning was boring; it was particularly boring while sober." --page 261. Photograph by Leonor Mamanna, @leonorjr. #alittlelifebook

A photo posted by A Little Life: A Novel (@alittlelifebook) on

Photo courtesy of @leonorjr

 

Photo courtesy of @erichelgas 

 

Photo courtesy of @naomishon

 

Photo courtesy of @leonorjr

 

Photo courtesy of @yolandaedwards

 

Photo courtesy of @andrewrhysyoung

A Little Life

A Little Life

When four graduates 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 centre 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.

Out now in Paperback and as an Ebook and Audiobook. 

Read extract  

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