To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara


Bookseller Review by Elle:

Following the huge success of ‘A Little Life’,  this is a book that is bound to be a much deserved critical and commercial success. Do not be put off by the gargantuan size of this monster novel, this book is worth every single word! An epic work of fiction chronicling an alternate America, split into three novels, with their own time, characters, and narratives. Captivating, immersive, and masterfully written with so many important things to say. This book gives you so much to unpack and think about, I feel like I’m unable to adequately review it. What I will say, however, is that this book is utterly beautiful, incredibly ambitious, and endlessly fascinating.

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ISBN: 9781529077476 Category: Tags: , , ,


From the author of the modern classic A Little Life, a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him – and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

To Paradise is a findesiecle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara’s understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love – partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens – and the pain that ensues when we cannot.