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 siècle novel of marvellous 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.
Sophie Baker manages the translation rights for To Paradise
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Simply captivating . . . highly affecting.Sunday Times
Behind this impressive, significant novel stands the question: what is a life, if it is not lived in freedom?
After the painfully affecting [A Little Life] To Paradise gives us three stories far apart in space and time but each unique in their power to summon the joy and complexity of love, the pain of loss. I’m not sure I’ve ever missed the world of a book as much as I miss To Paradise now I’ve left it.
A bravura achievement.Guardian 2022 Highlights
A very unusual sensibility and a burning subject matter have come together here . . . Highly affecting. Read it and hope not to revisit it in your dreams.
To Paradise is a transcendent, visionary novel of stunning scope and depth. A novel so layered, so rich, so relevant, so full of the joys and terrors – the pure mystery – of human life, is not only rare, it’s revolutionary.
Hanya Yanagihara interrogates love and history in a novel that feels prophetic, but in fact rises from the oldest of human themes: ardor, shame, and our most profound protective instincts. She builds a future narrated by vulnerable yet sturdy Charlie, a merciful heart burning for all creation. To Paradise is a world of its own, a major work, and one of the rare books equipped to tell us what it means to be an American.
Awe-inspiring . . . the world-building on display here is nothing short of breath-taking . . . Yanagihara has taken speculative fiction to a whole new level.