A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara defends her writings on homosexuals
A Little Life was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. (Getty)
Hanya Yanagihara, author of A little life, defended his right to “the right to write about what I want”.
In 2015, Yanagihara rose to prominence with A little life, described as “an amazing and ambitious chronicle of queer life in America” by author Garth Greenwell, who suggested it deserved the title of “The Great Gay Novel”.
The highly anticipated follow-up from Yanigahara, In Paradise, will be released on Tuesday (January 11). Over 700 pages, In Paradise explores queer life through different time periods: from an alternate version of 19th century America where same-sex marriage is common; in Manhattan in the 90s, where gay men battle the AIDS epidemic; and finally, a dystopian future where the world suffers from plagues and is ruled by totalitarian governments.
Previously, Yanagihara was criticized for her writings on gay men, as an alleged heterosexual woman.
In 2015, literary critic Daniel Mendelsohn attacked his description of same-sex relationships in A little life, writing that it “revives a pre-Stonewall type of plot in which homosexual characters are dexed, miserable and ultimately punished for finding happiness” and calling it a “regressive and repressive cultural fantasy of the middle of the last century” .
In a new interview with The GuardianShe Yanagihara defended her choice to write stories centered on gay men, saying, “It’s very dangerous. I have the right to write whatever I want. The only thing a reader can judge is whether I did so well or not.
Some homosexual writers have also spoken out for him. Novelist Edmund White was a staunch supporter of In Paradise, calling it “a mature masterpiece” and claiming it is “as good as War and Piece“.
Formerly a queer writer Alexandre chee praised Yanagihara’s ally on Twitter, citing his involvement in queer anthology editing and media coverage of queer writing as editor-in-chief of The New York Times’ T magazine. He concluded that she has demonstrated “over and over again that she is not a tourist in our lives”.