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As soon as I heard about Hanya Yanagihara’s latest novel, “To Paradise,” I knew I had to get my hands on it. After all, A Little Life, her previous novel, had left me emotionally drained yet strangely satisfied. Yanagihara has a unique way of hooking readers with her detailed characterizations and unconventional narratives. And, needless to say, “To Paradise” did not disappoint. The novel explores the concepts of love and loss across different timeframes and characters, making it an engaging read from the start. 

The author’s previous work has showcased her talent to vividly depict the emotions of her characters. I was curious to see if she would outdo herself with “To Paradise.” Moreover, I was interested to know the reasoning behind Yanagihara’s choice of title and the themes she would explore in the novel. 

To Paradise is a hefty read, both in terms of its length and the emotions it evokes. But don’t let that intimidate you; it’s definitely worth diving into. So, if you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between, then To Paradise is the perfect pick.

Plot Summary

Okay, here goes nothing. This book is about a captivating tale of love and loss that had me hooked from page one.

The story follows the lives of several characters, each navigating their own personal struggles in a world that’s both beautiful and cruel. The main character, if there is one, is the world itself. Yanagihara paints a vivid picture of a future that’s both recognisable and strange, with technology advancing at a dizzying pace and the world’s elite seeking refuge in a utopian paradise that’s almost too good to be true. But amidst all this wonder and beauty, there’s a sense of foreboding that runs through the book like a dark undercurrent—you know something bad is going to happen, but you can’t quite put your finger on what. 

As for the themes explored, there are many: love, loss, friendship, ambition, grief, and so much more. But what struck me most was the way Yanagihara wrote about time—how it slips through our fingers, how we try to hold onto it but ultimately fail, and how we’re forced to confront our own mortality in the face of it. It’s an incredibly poignant and thought-provoking book, one that’s sure to stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. 

What Works and What Doesn’t

Hanya Yanagihara has once again gifted us with her unparalleled writing style in her latest novel, To Paradise. Her prose is captivating and compelling, sewing together different characters, stories, and timelines into a seamless narrative that pulls the reader in from the very first page. Yanagihara’s penchant for detailed descriptions of characters and their emotions is present throughout the novel. Readers will find themselves intimately invested in the characters, their joys, and their heartaches. As the book progresses, it’s easy to feel like you know the characters personally, and their pain becomes your own.

 The structure of the novel is unique, with separate narratives coming together in unexpected ways. At times, the jumping timelines and characters can be jarring, but with Yanagihara’s excellent writing, it becomes easy to follow the plot and connect with the story’s central theme. At nearly 500 pages, To Paradise is a lengthy read. However, this allows Yanagihara to fully develop each character and their stories, drawing out the emotional impact of each event. It’s a book that asks readers to invest themselves fully, and those who do will be rewarded with a powerful, poignant tale. 

Overall, “To Paradise” is a beautifully crafted novel that showcases Yanagihara’s masterful writing. Despite some minor hiccups with structure and length, the book is a brilliant exploration of love, loss, and the human condition.

The Emotional Impact

When was the last time a book made you feel a range of emotions? Well, to Paradise for me. Yanagihara’s unconventional narratives, her ability to create such vivid yet broken characters, and the way she explores the all-too-familiar theme of love and loss all contribute to the emotional impact this book has on its reader.

To Paradise is a testament to the importance of novels that force us to confront our own feelings and emotions head-on. It’s both melancholic and happy, leaving an indelible impression, and that’s why it’s a must-read.

Comparison with Yanagihara’s Previous Works

As someone who was deeply moved by A Little Life, I couldn’t resist picking up To Paradise. And while the two books share similar themes of love, loss, and trauma, To Paradise stands out with its unconventional narratives and imaginative storylines. Yanagihara’s unique ability to create multi-dimensional characters and immerse readers in their innermost emotions is once again showcased in this book. As for her future works, I can only hope that she continues to push the boundaries of what we consider traditional literature and keeps breaking our hearts in the best possible way.


Final Thoughts: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara is a poignant exploration of grief, love, and humanity that will leave a lasting impression on readers. Yanagihara’s vivid descriptions and character depth make for a compelling read. 

My personal favourite quote from the book is, “Grief is love in its most savage forms.” If you enjoy emotionally charged stories with unconventional narratives, this book is a must-read. However, be warned that it is a long read that demands your full attention. 


This book is packed with an engaging writing style, detailed character descriptions, and unconventional narratives. The book may be long, but it’s worth every page. Yanagihara has once again delivered a masterpiece that leaves an emotional impact on the reader. Overall, the book is highly recommended to anyone who loves novels that make you feel. The key takeaway message for readers is that “To Paradise” is a must-read for those who enjoy exploring the depths of human emotion.

So, book lovers! Did you enjoy my book review of To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara?

I hope I’ve convinced you to pick up this masterful tale of love and loss.

To Paradise

Neelam Sharma
Author: Hanya Yanagihara


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