Mrs Larby recommends, ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara.
It’s the book I pulled out of the English Department bran tub last Christmas (thank you, Mrs Wilson-Head!) and one of the best books I have ever read.
In simple terms, it’s a story of the friendship of four young men who meet at university and then move to New York. However, it really centres on the character of Jude whose traumatic past is gradually revealed.
The novel is simultaneously heart-breaking and uplifting; I feel it’s a book that every teacher should be made to read as Yanagihara really gets inside the skin of a damaged and vulnerable young person forcing you to not just understand the pain of the individual intellectually but to feel it from the inside. It’s not an easy read in terms of the subject matter but I couldn’t put it down, driven by a mixture of hope and despair for the central character. She’s a remarkable writer and I found the book utterly compelling and beautifully written.