A Little Life follows the experiences of four friends, newly graduated and steering their way through life in New York. Jude, Willem, JD and Malcolm wrestle with race, sexuality, disability and family as they try to assert their individual talents and creativity. At the beginning I thought the book would follow each man, crossing their paths every now and then, and whilst this is broadly what happens, JD and Malcolm fade a little as Jude and Willem take centre stage. Their relationship adapts and morphs through the book, but is always figural. Jude’s already frail body declines as the demons of his past grow and his friends struggle to keep him with them.
It is a book about love, reparative relationships and huge, isolating pain that made me cry more than once.
Read it, honestly, you won’t regret it.