“Small, red, and upright he waited,
gripping his new bookbag tight
in one hand and touching a lucky penny inside his coat pocket with the other,
while the first snows of winter
floated down on his eyelashes and covered the branches around him and silenced
all trace of the world.”
“The evening’s the best part of the day. You’ve done your day’s work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.”
Fates and Furies had been bouncing around my to-read list for a long time before I finally borrowed a copy to see what all the fuss was about. It was one of those books that suddenly hits literary circles and becomes all anyone can talk about; despite Groff’s previous publishing history—including the very excellent Arcadia and a short story collection with publication credits including The New Yorker and other Top Tier ™ journals—it was this latest novel that seemed to generate a new wave of interest in her work.
I wasn’t disappointed: I finished the book in one fell swoop, spending a whole Saturday wandering around different rooms in the house, book in hand, fighting the tension between immediate interest and increasing panic that soon enough I’d be finished and there would be no more book to read. And when I did finish reading, it was with the type of emotional reaction I rarely find in contemporary literature; without giving too much away, Fates and Furies broke my heart—I’ve never so badly wanted a book to end a different way.
Continue reading A Very Balanced Review: Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
I’ve been wanting to discuss one of my favorite books, A Little Life, for a while. I’d have no problem arguing I think this is easily one of the best books written in the last ten years, and it has a place of honor on my bookshelf (not that Yanagihara cares much about my book collection). But it’s difficult to say why this novel lives so large in my mind; it’s hard to define what type of story this is, or even how it works, and so it becomes difficult to name the precise feeling you experience reading it: overwhelming pathos, maybe, or a deep sense of communal human experience. So the way to begin writing about it may be as simply as possible: I read A Little Life about half a year ago, and the story remains just as moving and impressive in my mind tonight as on the day I finished the last page.
Continue reading A Very Balanced Review: A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara