Time Off Books. QUICK TALK : Hanya Yanagihara is no cynic. The author of A Little Life returns with To Paradise, a doorstopping novel split into three sections, each focused on a different era - and version - of America.

Q.- The third section of To Paradise envisions a world facing rolling pandemics. What do you make of people referring to it as a ''pandemic novel''?

It's not a pandemic novel. Ultimately, if it's predictive at all, it's less about the pandemic and more about the questions that many of us are asking ourselves as Americans at this moment.

Who gets to write the history of America, and who gets to remember it?

Q.- Many of the characters share the same name. What drew you to that decision?

Humans always think we're the ones who are writing our names upon history, but what if it's the opposite? What if history is actually writing its names upon us?

The worlds change and the circumstances change, but the characters and what they want - that they want to be loved and to love someone - remain the same. The human condition remains unaltered, no matter the circumstances or the era.

Q.- Your second novel A Little Life was a massive best seller, but it also seemed like readers either loved it or hated it. How did it feel to wade through all that feedback?

When you aren't reading comments, you're not on Twitter or Facebook, you're not reading reviews and you're not on Goodreads, you really hear a lot about it. Very rarely will someone take the time to send you a mean note.

Some people do like to get more involved with the reception of their books, but my feeling is the reader can react however he or she wants.

Q.- You're also the editor in chief of T : The New York Times Style Magazine. Has your editorial perspective changed over the past two years, with all the constant devastation we've been living through?

Not really. At the heart, I'm not a cynical person. I hope I don't seem cynical on the pages of the magazine or in the pages of this book.

Once you start becoming cynical, you stop engaging with the world around you because you feel that there's no point.

An artist and an editor has to be able to do so with energy and a sense of curiosity.

The World Students Society thanks review author Annabel Gutterman.


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