Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life: Book club and discussion.

Is A Little Life a Searing Document of Human Suffering or a Melodramatic Mess?  

Is A Little Life a Searing Document of Human Suffering or a Melodramatic Mess?  

Discussing new and classic works.
Nov. 6 2015 10:24 AM

The Audio Book Club Weeps Over A Little Life

Slate critics debate Hanya Yanagihara’s misery-soaked epic.


To listen to the Audio Book Club discussion of A Little Life, click the arrow on the player below.


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This month, Slate critics Laura Bennett, Andrew Kahn, Dan Kois, and Katy Waldman

discuss a heavy (in both senses) book about friendship and relentless pain, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. How does the story conform to or defy the conventions of the typical New York ensemble novel? Does Yanagihara have meaningful things to say about gay male relationships? Are the book’s detractors just suffering from a failure of empathy?

Also, be sure to check out Slate’s author-editor conversation between Hanya Yanagihara and Gerry Howard, and Andrew Kahn on A Little Life’s fairy-tale food.


Next month the Audio Book Club will dig into Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. Read the book and stay tuned for our discussion in December!

Visit our Audio Book Club archive page for a complete list of the more than 75 books we’ve discussed over the years. Or you can listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed.


Podcast produced by Abdul Rufus and Andy Bowers.

Laura Bennett is Slate’s features director.

Andrew Kahn is Slate’s assistant interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Dan Kois edits and writes for Slate’s human interest and culture departments. He’s the co-author, with Isaac Butler, of The World Only Spins Forward, a history of Angels in America, and is writing a book called How to Be a Family.

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer.