The other side of Eden

Published in 2015, Hanya Yanagihara’s a little life It is a story about the trauma and tangled relationships of four college friends in New York. She won the Kirkus Prize and was nominated for a Booker Prize and National Book Award. Yanagihara is now back with to heaven, Another round of strength blends the polished realist traditions of Henry James and Joseph Conrad with a genre-bending moment. Yanagihara rewrites history for the purposes of the novel, drawing on and subverting narrative conventions, and challenging our expectations of what is “normal” in terms of gender. I wrote a symphony on the page.

to heaven They are actually three novels in one, set in different time periods, 100 years apart. There are frequent names for Charlie, David, and Edward, and last names for Griffith, Bingham, and Bishop, with little or no apparent association. The corrupting effect of wealth and power is a constant effect, as is the effect of ancestors. And in each of them, the concept of paradise is explored. But there the similarity ends.

In its first part, to heaven It offers a bold look into the past, where after the Civil War, the country was divided into the North, Free States, United Colonies, and West. The tale unfolds in midtown Manhattan, where a wealthy and influential family resides – the founders of the idyllic free states to which New York belongs. David, the grandson of a Bingham native, suffers from an unnamed illness. He avoids an arranged marriage with a socially acceptable partner for an unexpected affair with a bankrupt music teacher. It’s 1893, and gay couples are free to marry without judgment, but class and racism reign supreme. There are clear echoes of James Washington Square, Despite the unique development of the author.

To Heaven: A Novel

To Heaven: A Novel

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The second part is located in both New York and Hawaii, with another unequal relationship at the center, this one between David, a paralegal, and his senior partner Charles, who runs a prestigious law firm. It’s 1993 amid the AIDS epidemic, as the shadow of death lurks in thoughts and looks among friends; Each lesion or weight loss is noted. David also keeps a secret about his background and his father’s illness in Hawaii, which is no longer heaven
from his youth. (The Yanagihara family is from Hawaii, where the queen was overthrown in 1893, and Hawaii was eventually annexed.)

The third part, set in the dystopian 2093 film, consists of half the novel and is moderated by two narrators: a young woman named Charlie, chronicling her daily existence in New York that has suffered from epidemics and the severe effects of a changing climate; He found her, an immigrant from Hawaii, whose story is told in the form of a letter. New York was eventually divided into municipalities and districts in which individual liberties are severely restricted and travel outside its borders is prohibited. Hawaii has been devastated by the effects of bad weather, a lost paradise. Quarantine camps, containment suits and restriction of movement are already familiar.

Yanagihara changes the new landscape: what is different, we accept; What is familiar, we realize. to heaven It resonates with its exploration of human relationships and deconstruction of preconceptions. Prejudice and hatred lurk and remain, appearing periodically to remind us that while some form of discrimination may have been eliminated, others remain ingrained in our institutions, and are not easily eliminated; At the end, bias threads connect the three parts. and after to heaven Rich in characters who live and love, with few limits. Yanagihara asks us to think of an alternative America that would have existed at any point in history if other decisions had been made, and may still prevail if we did the right thing.

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