To Paradise Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The number one Sunday Times best seller
From Hanya Yanagihara, author of the modern classic A Little Life, To Paradise is 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-siecle 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.
- Get this audiobook free then 1 credit each month, good for any title you like - yours to keep, even if you cancel
- Listen all you want to the Plus Catalogue—a selection of thousands of Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts, including exclusive series
- Exclusive member-only deals
- $16.45 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime
|Listening Length||28 hours and 46 minutes|
|Narrator||BD Wong, Catherine Ho, Edoardo Ballerini, Feodor Chin, Kurt Kanazawa|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||11 January 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 882 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
4 in LGBTQ+ Literature & Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
4 in Alternate History Science Fiction
66 in LGBTQ+ Fiction (Books)
Review this product
Top reviews from Australia
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The writing style is unique, almost lyrical and such a pleasure to read. You will find yourself immersed in rich worlds which feel familiar yet different. In these worlds you will get to know relatable and deep characters who will tug at your heart strings. My only criticism of this book is that I wanted more of it. Even after 720 pages I found myself wanting to know what happens next.
The book is split into three sections which each introduce somewhat related characters. It reminded me of those anthology tv-shows where you have the same actors play different characters in different seasons. I’d have to say my favorite was the first section so much that I was disappointed when this section ended at around the 25% in mark only to be introduced to someone new. The middle section drags a little and the pace is quite slow but push through it as the book redeems itself in the final act.
While not an action-packed book, it is quietly profound and meaningful and offers much more than a surface-level story. Overall, this is a well-written book filled with complex and deep characters. This is surely one you won’t want to miss.
Thank you to Hanya Yanagihara, Pan Macmillian and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Top reviews from other countries
I’m not sure that I totally understand what she was meaning to convey with the three interlinked narratives & I will be pondering that for a long time. I at first struggled to make sense of the repetition & doubling of character names but I think it depicts a certain kind of ‘Everyman-Ness’ & established a familial & particularly human thread for the reader to follow.
Yanigahara has a gift for describing a kind of unspooling of the human psyche which reveals every thought & emotion in immaculate detail, like a vulture picking clean the bones of a cadaver. In On Paradise, she has turned this insight outwards so that it is not just the characters but also the fate of the human race that is dissected & offered up for examination.
The book did not let my expectations down in any way , it is another master piece of modern literature I was immediately grabbed and found the book un put down-able .
I loved the multiple stories over many generations in multiple parallel worlds all linked subtly and cleverly , I particularly enjoyed the very first section telling of a world set I. our past with differences in the way LBGQ relationships were seen and accepted .
The book continues with world where gay relationships were the norm or were frowned upon or penalised travelling between the past present and future between Hawaii and USA or what might have been the same country in other lives .
The characters appeared and reappeared different and similar in varying amounts , the common themes of relationships of overpowering parents and underachieving adult children were mingled with a strong sense of place both country ,city and house .
As a book written during the 2020 Covid pandemic the echos of similar episodes through the century and of a future where recurring significant pandemics are the norm made difficult reading on occasion but our familiarity with the language of quarantine and vaccine development helped in understanding the significance of the episodes discussed
I thoroughly enjoyed this book it is beautifully written filled with detailed character descriptions and with the beautiful prose style of the author . A gem of a book if I can use this description for such a weighty novel of distinction, I will be strongly recommending it
Given its length and complexity I then opted to buy its ebook edition and did a combined read/listen.
‘To Paradise’ is very different to ‘A Little Life’. It speculative fiction set in alternative historical periods: 1893, 1993, and 2093. That the third part features a series of increasingly devastating pandemics appears prescient and very relevant to our current situation. Hanya Yanagihara utilises this format of alternative history to address various contemporary social issues.
I do predict that those expecting a rerun of ‘A Little Life’ may be disappointed. However, I found it exceptional and predict that it is likely to be nominated for literary awards this year. I hope so as I would welcome a reread.
In addition to its literary merits, it is also very readable.
It is effectively three stories that are linked - we see members of two of the same families at the end of the 18th, 20th and 21st centuries. The first two parts are shorter and most of the second half of the book is the future segment.
You could almost argue that the story is set in a parallel universe. In 1893 our main character is a gay man who is looking to have an arranged marriage - arranged by his grandfather, who is also a gay man, which is a socially acceptable thing in this America. Only it’s not really America - the states have coalesced into five distinct nations - the state of Maine is a country of it’s own, Texas and many of the southern states have formed The United Colonies, the three states on the west coast have formed The Western Union, and the rest (pretty much) has become America. New York is part of the final country, the Free States, which is everything south of Maine down to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The first story is about the main character trying to avoid his arranged marriage when he falls in love with another man, who, it turns out, has gad a history of getting together with rich men and stealing their money.
We leap forward to 1993, where the descendants of the characters in the first book are living with the Aids epidemic. The final story is set in a bleak future where there are constant pandemics and global warming has happened to truly terrifying proportions, again following members of the same family.
The author has made some interesting choices. There is no family tree shown, so you have to speculate how many generations have passed in the time between each story. The only thing that links them all is the surname Bingham, and a property in New York. Also, we never really find out what happens at the end of two of the segments. Does the David get ripped off at the end of the first book? (Even worse we are teased with finding out the resolution to this story in the third book but that never pans out either!) Who is in the boat on the final page of the penultimate chapter?
It’s bleak but the final segment is page turning stuff. Even here, the narrative has two strands - one set in 2093 and 2094, and the other giving background to those characters from fifty years ago to seven years ago. The flashback segments sometimes warm you of what is about to happen, or the other way around. It’s amazingly constructed and also horrifically plausible.
The third segment is easily the best, but they are all good. We are left on a cliffhanger and I suppose it is up to the reader to decide whether things work out well or not. I have my own theory, but having scoured the last few pages for clues as to which way it goes, I realise that the author has left it deliberately ambiguous. The end chunk is about a pandemic (or rather a series of them, which is one - albeit bleak - theory about what is going to happen in the next few decades). I have no idea if that was the plan for the book before we actually had one but it certainly feels powerfully relevant. It also shows how people turn on each other in unexpected ways when life gets hard.
I read most of it in two days, and at 700+ pages that’s no mean feat. The characters are amazing and I will be checking out other titles by this writer.