To Paradise by Hanya Yanaghira
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction | Adult
'We are the lizard, but we are also the moon. Some of us will die, but others of us will keep doing what we always have, continuing on our own oblivious way, doing what our nature compels us to, silent and unknowable and unstoppable in our rhythms.'
I remember reading A Little Life and trying very hard not to burst into tears. It had been a while since a book stirred such a reaction in me. Naturally, when I heard about the upcoming release of To Paradise, I pre-ordered myself a copy without even looking at the synopsis!
There were patches of this book that I preferred to others - Book I was likely my favourite of the three. I am going to be completely honest and say that I genuinely think I am going to have to re-read this book to try to get the most out of it. No doubt at all, the writing was very beautiful and I was fascinated by the dynamics between the different characters. However, I wouldn't regard this book as a light read - Yanaghira likely embedded many different profound meanings behind each Book.
I did love the different worlds she created in each Book. The final one, Book III, was certainly influenced by the COVID-19 Pandemic. I can tell a lot of thought and time went into this book and every reader will likely take away a different reading experience. Personally, I thought it was interesting every character in each different world never felt fully complete within themselves. There was always something missing - a feeling that many people will have all experienced at least once, craving for something better.
I would highly recommend trying this book out. Although there were personal patches in the book that I struggled with, overall, it was an enjoyable read.
1893 America - In an alternative universe, New York is part of the Free States where people can marry whomever they choose. A young man of a distinguished family resists the betrothal of a worthy suitor.
1993 Manhattan - Life is engulfed in the AIDS epidemic. A young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, and wealthier partner, withholding the truth about his late fathers' fate.
2093 - The world is under totalitarian rule and riddled with plague. A young woman tries to navigate this life without her grandfather and seeks to solve the mystery of her husband's regular disappearances.
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Thank you for reading!