Episode 401 — Hanya Yanagihara

   

Hanya Yanagihara is the guest. Her novel A Little Life was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award, and it is now available in trade paperback from Anchor Books. (Photo credit: Jen Westerhoff)

I feel like A Little Life is having the kind of existence that pretty much all writers hope their books will have. It seems to provoke passionate responses. The people who love it really fucking love it and the people who hate it are incensed by it and there are way more people who love it than hate it. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Hanya was only in town for a day and pretty solidly booked but she found an hour to come over and talk with me, and for that I’m grateful. I learned a lot from her. She knows her shit, and she really fought hard for her novel. She fought hard to see her vision of this book realized, and she’s protective of it in a way that seems both smart and endearing. Also: it paid off huge. Few works of literary fiction strike a nerve the way that this book has struck a nerve. Also: it’s 700 pages long and she wrote it in 18 months. Also: she doesn’t own a cell phone.

In today’s monologue, I give a quick update on the health of my son and share news about some appearances I’ll be making during AWP here in Los Angeles in April.