Hanya Yanagihara has drastically changed the literary scene all over the world with her ‘humanist’ approach to writing. This author is based out of America, and in a world filled with YA novels and fantasy etc. human suffering was not a very explored topic in terms of books, until now. Here are three books that we think stood out!
1. To Paradise Parental advisory required
'To Paradise' spans over three books. This story begins in New York in 1893. During this period, same-sex love and marriage are standard. But, African-American citizens are not allowed to perform the same. A 100 years later, a descendant of the last ruler of Hawaii lives in the same neighbourhood. During the same period, AIDS ravages a generation, while his Hawaiian heritage is endangered. Soon after, we skip to 2093. A plethora of pandemics and storms push the area (Zone Eight) into an autocratic and tyrannical society. Millions of civilians are locked up to keep society safe. The crux of the novel is to disprove the fact that paradise, as a concept exists.
'To Paradise' is a novel which surpasses current writing trends. It's penned down in a way that makes you bawl your eyes out and makes characters, on which the storyline heavily depends, feel real. The transition from Book I and II where the main themes are love and affection to Book III where terror reigns are not only smooth but also corresponds to our current situation.
This book can easily be mistaken as a story of four college friends who have moved from Massachusetts to New York and are trying to live their separate lives together.
There is Malcolm (who lives with his rich parents), Willem (waiter), J. B (an ambitious artist), and Jude, a puzzle. No one could figure him out. All four of them want to be friends for life or ‘BFF’s’. The book opens when Jude and Willem are living in utter poverty in Chinatown, where they bonded and became closer than ever. Jude is very secretive about his past. But we jump to Willem, who is very open about his past. We learn that before he was “a kind man, he was a kind boy.” His disabled brother died young. Willem hopes to carry that memory with him as Jude grows from a boy to a man. Their friendship is one of the highlights of the book.
Willem’s good looks and sheer talent make it easy for him to pursue acting. J. B. turns out to be a talented artist who makes paintings of his three friends. And Malcolm is very fond of architecture and he turns that into a successful business. Jude gains enormous success as a litigator. All of them are at their career’s peak. But while the story unravels, in the middle lies Jude’s secret suffering, and Malcolm and J. B. soon fade into the background. What is the cause of Jude’s suffering? Read the book to find out.
Parental advisory required
In 1950, Perina joins an expedition bound for the imaginary island nation of U'ivu. There, he discovers a lost tribe of "dreamers". He also discovers that the secret to the dreamers' longevity is the flesh of a turtle called the opa'ivu'eke, which is usually ingested upon an U'ivuan's 60th birthday. Perina, overtaken by greed, smuggles an opa'ivu'eke sample back to America. He publishes his findings and achieves instant fame. This is the first part of the story. The main accomplishment of this book was critiquing western imperialism. The description of U’ivu is beyond compare. Read the book to find out more!
Thank you for reading! See you next Sunday! Ciao