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From the author of the 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 fin de siecle novel of marvelous 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.
Read and Recommended by Hendri:
"After the bestselling emotional rollercoaster read, A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara explores three alternate versions of America over two centuries and chronicles the lives of gay men who are struggling to find their freedom amidst debilitating circumstances. Divided into three parts, the first book, “Washington Square” is set in a 1893 version of America where gay marriage is legal - although so are arranged marriages. David Bingham is an emotionally fragile young gay man whose rich, distinguished grandfather has brokered a possible marriage to a wealthy but also significantly older man, Charles Griffith. But it is with Edward, a captivating but penniless music teacher, where David’s desires truly lie. David must make a choice, even as questions arise about Edward’s integrity and motivations. The second book, “Lipo-Wao-Nahele” plunges us into 1993 Manhattan during the AIDS epidemic and another young Hawaiian gay man named David who lives with his rich older partner, Charles in the same Washington Square house from Part 1. While the last book, “Zone Eight” is a gripping dystopian look at the second half of the 21st century as plagues and climate disasters have made Manhattan all but unrecognisable. In this new authoritarian America, a good-intentioned scientist works to contain various pandemics only to see these attempts shatter his family forever. Protecting his granddaughter (who was physically and intellectually damaged by the drug that saved her life during one of these pandemics) is perhaps the only way for him to reconcile his wrongdoing. Just like A Little Life, To Paradise is not an easy-read for its emotional intensity, and equally, for how it changes the way we grasp and understand pain, loneliness, trauma, as well as freedom itself."
Author: Hanya Yanagihara
Paperback Published 11 January 2022 720 pages