Books To Read After “A Little Life”

‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara is a powerful novel that has left a profound impact on its readers. The book’s exploration of friendship, trauma, love, and human endurance resonates deeply, leaving one in thoughtful contemplation long after turning the last page.

This blog post is for those who have been moved by ‘A Little Life’ and are yearning for more reads that evoke similar emotions and reflections. We will venture into books that share common themes, exhibit evocative prose, delve into the nuances of trauma and recovery, and celebrate diversity in characters and narratives.

Buckle up for an exciting literary journey!

Similar Themes: Exploring the Human Condition

‘A Little Life’ shines a stark yet empathetic light on the human condition, exploring themes of friendship, trauma, and the struggle for self-acceptance. Here are a few book recommendations that delve into these themes, offering a rich exploration of human experiences and emotions.

‘The Great Believers’ by Rebecca Makkai

Set in the 1980s Chicago at the height of the AIDS crisis, ‘The Great Believers’ navigates the complexities of friendships under pressure, the urgency of love, and the tragedy of loss. Makkai’s rich prose and intricate storytelling echo Yanagihara’s adept exploration of human resilience amidst despair.

‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ by John Boyne

This sweeping narrative chronicles the life of Cyril Avery, a gay man living in post-war Ireland. Boyne’s novel, much like ‘A Little Life’, features a tapestry of relationships and the persistent search for identity and acceptance in a harsh and often intolerant society.

‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘The Goldfinch’ presents a mesmerizing exploration of love, loss, and the transformative power of art. Tartt’s masterful storytelling and her protagonist’s journey echo the poignant narratives and deep emotional resonance found in ‘A Little Life’.

Evocative Writing Styles

‘A Little Life’ is widely praised for its emotive and immersive writing style, drawing readers deep into the characters’ lives and experiences. If you appreciate Yanagihara’s compelling narrative, you might enjoy the following books known for their powerful prose and gripping storytelling.

‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel weaves the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy during World War II. Doerr’s lyrical prose and vivid imagery offer a unique perspective on human resilience and the beauty of the unseen world.

‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt

‘The Secret History’ captivates readers with its elegant prose and an enthralling plot revolving around a group of college students. Tartt’s rich narrative and complex characters are reminiscent of the depth and intricacy found in ‘A Little Life’.

‘The Book of Night Women’ by Marlon James

Set in the backdrop of a Jamaican plantation in the late 18th century, this novel tells the story of a slave woman plotting a revolt. James’s raw and potent prose brings to life the harsh realities of slavery, offering a deep exploration of human endurance and rebellion against injustice.

From the Same Author: Yanagihara’s Other Works

If ‘A Little Life’ left you in admiration of Hanya Yanagihara’s storytelling prowess, it’s worth delving into her other works. Yanagihara’s unique narrative style and her ability to explore challenging themes make her books an intriguing read.

‘The People in the Trees’ by Hanya Yanagihara

In her debut novel, Yanagihara takes readers on a different journey, this time into the depths of the Micronesian jungles. A mix of adventure, ethical dilemma, and an exploration of immortality, ‘The People in the Trees’ showcases Yanagihara’s knack for crafting complex characters and intricate narratives, much like she does in ‘A Little Life’.

Exploring Trauma and Recovery

One of the significant aspects of ‘A Little Life’ is its exploration of trauma and the journey towards recovery. It offers a profound examination of how past experiences shape us and how individuals navigate their path to healing. If you are drawn to these themes, here are some book recommendations that delve into these sensitive topics with grace and empathy.

‘She’s Come Undone’ by Wally Lamb

Lamb’s novel follows the life of Dolores Price, a woman who confronts numerous traumas over decades. Much like ‘A Little Life’, ‘She’s Come Undone’ engages readers in an emotional journey towards recovery and self-discovery.

‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, ‘Beloved’ explores the haunting effects of trauma through the life of Sethe, a former slave haunted by her past. Morrison’s exploration of trauma and healing in ‘Beloved’ is as poignant and profound as Yanagihara’s depiction in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Speak’ by Laurie Halse Anderson

‘Speak’ is a powerful novel about a high schooler who becomes a social pariah after calling the police to end a summer party, leading to a year of reflection and struggle. The narrative delves into the aftermath of trauma and the strength found in speaking one’s truth, mirroring the raw and sincere exploration of suffering and recovery in ‘A Little Life’.

Diverse Characters and Narratives

The diverse characters and narratives in ‘A Little Life’ add to the richness and depth of the story. If you’re captivated by the authenticity and representation in Yanagihara’s novel, here are some book recommendations that offer similar diversity in their characters and narratives.

‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker

‘The Color Purple’ is a profound narrative about the lives of African American women in the southern United States during the early 20th century. Walker’s epistolary novel provides an intimate look into the characters’ lives, akin to Yanagihara’s in-depth exploration of her characters in ‘A Little Life’.

‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong

Written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read, Vuong’s novel is a beautiful exploration of family, love, and identity. Its focus on immigrant experience and LGBTQ+ themes brings diversity to the forefront, reflecting the inclusive narrative of ‘A Little Life’.

‘Call Me by Your Name’ by André Aciman

‘Call Me by Your Name’ is a stirring exploration of first love and self-discovery. With a narrative set in the beautiful Italian Riviera, the novel brings forward diverse characters and situations that echo the emotional intensity and complexity found in ‘A Little Life’.

Bonus Recommendations: Ten More Reads After ‘A Little Life’

‘The Nightingale’ by Kristin Hannah

This novel illuminates the experiences of two sisters in France during World War II. Selected for its exploration of resilience, sacrifice, and the power of love amidst atrocities, this book echoes the themes of enduring hardship and the complexities of relationships found in ‘A Little Life’.

‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini

This novel tells the story of two Afghan women navigating the turbulent socio-political landscape of Afghanistan. Chosen for its intense portrayal of suffering, resilience, and the power of female friendship, its themes align with those in ‘A Little Life’.

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky

This coming-of-age novel follows the life of an introverted teenager, Charlie, through his letters to a stranger. Picked for its raw depiction of adolescence, trauma, and the path to recovery, it resonates with the emotional depth and exploration of personal trauma found in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee

This epic novel follows several generations of a Korean family living in Japan. With its intricate exploration of identity, family, love, and the immigrant experience, it mirrors the depth of characterization and exploration of identity in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue

This novel, narrated by a five-year-old boy held captive in a room with his mother, explores the themes of freedom, resilience, and the power of imagination. Selected for its intense emotional narrative and exploration of trauma, it aligns with the complex emotional themes of ‘A Little Life’.

‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This novel follows Ifemelu and Obinze, two young Nigerians navigating love, race, and identity in America and the UK. Chosen for its rich exploration of cultural and racial identity, as well as love and personal growth, it resonates with the themes of identity and personal evolution in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney

This novel explores the intricate relationship between two young people in Ireland. With its poignant exploration of love, friendship, and the struggle of personal identity, it reflects the relational dynamics and exploration of self found in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’ by Jesmyn Ward

This novel delves into the journey of a mixed-race family in the American South. Picked for its rich exploration of familial relationships, personal struggle, and the echoes of historical trauma, it mirrors the exploration of trauma and interpersonal dynamics in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Educated’ by Tara Westover

This memoir follows Westover’s journey from being raised in a strict, isolated, and often abusive household in Idaho to earning a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Chosen for its exploration of personal transformation amidst adversity, it resonates with themes of personal growth and overcoming trauma found in ‘A Little Life’.

‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer

This novel follows Arthur Less, a failed novelist about to turn fifty. Selected for its exploration of love, aging, and the human fear of being insignificant, it echoes the introspective and emotional journey seen in ‘A Little Life’.


Having journeyed through novels that mirror the themes, style, and emotional depth of ‘A Little Life’, we hope that these book recommendations offer you new avenues to explore. From narratives that delve into the human condition to stories that offer a masterful exploration of trauma and recovery, these books promise to leave a lasting impression.

Whether it’s the profound exploration of friendships in ‘The Great Believers’, the rich storytelling in ‘The Secret History’, or the deep dive into trauma and healing in ‘Beloved’, each book carries a piece of what makes ‘A Little Life’ resonate with so many readers.

Dive into these books and see how they speak to you, inform your perspectives, and touch your heart.

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