Audible Premium Plus. Only $5.95 a month for the first 4 months. Get this deal! $14.95 a month after 4 months. Cancel anytime. Offers ends December 31, 11:59pm

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
To Paradise  By  cover art

To Paradise

By: Hanya Yanagihara
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini,Catherine Ho,BD Wong,Feodor Chin,Kurt Kanazawa
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $29.90

Buy for $29.90

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the award-winning, best-selling author of the classic A Little Life—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.

To Paradise is a fin de siècle novel of marvelous 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.

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 comprise an 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.

©2021 Hanya Yanagihara (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SUMMER READING LIST • A VOGUE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • AN ESQUIRE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • AN NPR.ORG'S BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

"The confounding, brilliant, intricate, beautiful, horrific To Paradise is—if this string of adjectives did not sufficiently convey it—an extraordinary book. Divided into three seemingly distinct sections, positioned a hundred years apart, the book is one-part historical fiction (set in 1893), part present-ish-day chronicle (1993), and part futuristic sci-fi story (2093). (That last chapter, which must have been informed by, if not fully drafted within, the pandemic, presents a dystopian future filled with 'cooling suits' required to venture outside and 'decontamination chambers' to ward off the ever-present possibility of infection.) Those who consumed Yanagihara’s most recent work, A Little Life, will not be surprised that this book, like its predecessor, is interested in pain and suffering more than joy and happiness. But it is also a book full of gloriously painted scenes, tantalizing connection, and despite all its gutting turns, one that maintains an abiding hope for the possibility and power of love. (That may just be the only paradise truly on offer.) In and of themselves, some sections feel in some ways quite conventional, but taken together—with all of their extreme cliffhangers and unanswered questions—the stories seem to be asking: what do we want from a novel? Resolution is not available here, but some of the most poignant feelings that literature can elicit certainly are."—Vogue

“Remarkable…The emotional impact of this novel is less visceral than A LITTLE LIFE but only because the author’s scope is so vast and her dexterity so dazzling….TO PARADISE demonstrates the inexhaustible ingenuity of an author who keeps shattering expectations….she explores the dream of freedom that lures all these characters to risk everything for a paradise they desire but can barely envision. No matter the setting–past present or future–TO PARADISE stems from the hypnotic confluence of Yanagihara’s skills. She speaks softly, with the urgency of a whisper. She draws us into the most intimate sympathy with these characters while placing them in crises that feel irresistibly compelling.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

Interview: Hanya Yanagihara on Why Our Longing for Paradise Will Forever Disappoint

'What if there could be this marriage story that wasn't gendered?'
-0.00
  • To Paradise
  • 'What if there could be this marriage story that wasn't gendered?'

Editor's Pick

An alternate universe uncomfortably close to home
It is said that time heals all wounds, but Hanya Yanagihara’s new epic seeks to challenge this common idiom. Set in an alternate version of New York City spanning three separate time periods, To Paradise provided me with a fresh context to examine some of society’s most pressing issues. In a manner that borders on the satirical, Yanagihara’s New York City seems to regress on social issues through each time period. While in 1893 this reality seems to boast free love and progressive identity politics, the same location is under the thumb of totalitarian rule justified by ceaseless pandemics in far-off 2093 (totally removed from our current reality, right?). While the imagination and grand scale of this novel speak for themselves, the care put into character arcs and dynamic performances by a full cast launch this unique project into a tier of its own. —Seth H., Audible Editor

What listeners say about To Paradise

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    567
  • 4 Stars
    176
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    13
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    632
  • 4 Stars
    101
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    7
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    481
  • 4 Stars
    170
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    16

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fabulous

I loved A Little Life and I love this one just as much. Please read this. The writing is beautiful and the way the stories are interconnected is like nothing I have ever read.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a masterpiece

An exquisitely written, convoluted book. It will surely enter the canon of American literature.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Feckless characters with a weak, disjointed story

I suffered through this entire day+ (28 hours) of this story so that I could fully evaluate this book. I keep listening in hopes that it would redeem itself with characters that were empathic, relatable or at least witty. Right through to the simpering end and each of the three books within a book (don't call them mini-books at 8+ hours each) just ground on and on. Yanagihara seems obsessed with gay men and yet can't seem to write a story in which a gay man shows strength of character, judgement or concern for anyone but himself. I hope I've saved you a day in your life. Pass.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

disappointing. I expected a lot more

I loved A LITTLE LIFE so much, I was eager to read the author's new book. She is definitely an accomplished writer, so it wasn't a total loss, but I wasn't moved by the individual characters. I found the use of the same names a rather contrived thread to connect what could have been a series of novellas. And the pseudo historical rewrite seemed equally gimmicky and unnecessary. Reading A LITTLE LIFE was a deeply moving experience, the highly developed characters were completely believable and engaging. Consequently their highs and woes were thrilling and agonizing. I loved those people, so I identified with them. Not so with TO PARADISE. This apocalyptic pandemic saga didn't touch my spirit. Just made me shudder.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brace yourself for Paradise!

This is a brilliant, absorbing, astonishing, soul wrenching ride through a universe as real as it is imaginary… relentlessly depressing, yet I couldn’t stop until it was done. Now I’m buzzing with desire to talk to other people who’ve read it.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A deep, richly satisfying, irresistible journey

Often riveting, always intriguing, sometimes head-scratching, sometimes horrifying, sometimes heartbreaking, ultimately all-consuming and richly rewarding. I resisted reading any of the reviews until after I finished the book -- a good decision. Experiencing the structure (and its surprises) is part of what makes "To Paradise" such a wondrous -- and wonder-making -- experience. The narration is brilliant. I read parts of the book on Kindle without the narration, but most of it with the impeccable cast that was assembled to take us on this deep journey. Five stars for all aspects of "To Paradise." I was totally consumed by it until its inevitable final words.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Boring

Without giving away anything, the characters exist in an alternate reality where where people have the freedom to love who they want, yet for literally no reason the book is riddled in so much unnecessary racism. Like sprinkled in for no reason it’s a bit odd. Part 2 is beyond boring, couldn’t even finish it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Wasted credit and brain space

I bought this book because I liked A Little Life, and thought that this one had to be at least okay. It is not.
I listened to the first part and kept thinking it could only get better.
I could not finish the second part.
I started the third part. It is very reminescent of Margaret Atwood. Why bother? I will listen to Oryx and Crake again.
Forget the wasted credit… I wish I could get the time I wasted on this back…

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding!

Although I as deterred a bit by the length, every moment of it was worth the time and tears. Such a compelling three century story. Loved the recycling of names from century to century. Will read it again!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Bad Book, Even Worse Narrators

SPOILERS

What we have here is three unfinished novellas packed into a single book and marketed as a single story.

I wanted to like this so much but it fell kind of flat.
I don't care what Hanya Yanagihara says — there is no cohesion between the three stories in the book. Shared names and recurring themes alone are not sufficient to create any meaningful relation between the three parts.

What's worse is that each of the three parts end right at the climax of their respective stories -- no resolution is offered and we never know what the hundreds of pages of story/character building actually amount to. I get that that was a stylistic decision and that the reader isn't supposed to know what happens, but it was an awful decision to make and it prevented me from enjoying what looked like a promising book. If Yanagihara had written three separate books (and had written more than just an exposition for each of them), it might be worth checking out. Unfortunately, as it was written, it is not.

I wanted to read this after having enjoyed A Little Life so much, but this was such a let down and I'm not sure if I'll be reading any more Yanagihara if this is representative of how most of her novels are.

The narration is almost unlistenable. The narrators (but especially the male narrator in the last book) read like they were stage actors. Everything is dramatized and feels forcefully performed. I don't need or want to hear the narrator chuckle or sigh and pout as they read lines, and they wouldn't stop doing so in this particular audiobook.

1 person found this helpful