What links To Paradise author Hanya Yanagihara to the CIA and a baby-name book? | hanya yanagihara

a big life

The latest epic from Hanya Yanagihara, To Paradise stretches from 1893 to 2093 in imagined altered states of America. It also follows 2015’s ubiquitous A Little Life, which traumatized and entranced readers in equal measure. (It was 96 in the Guardian’s 100 best books of the 21st century.)

To Paradise author Hanya Yanagihara also wrote A Little Life … Photograph: Getty Images

downtown man

The cover of the US edition of A Little Life featured a photo of a man taken seemingly in despair or pain, but it’s actually titled Orgasmic Man and is from a 1960s series on the theme by photographer Peter Hujar, who chronicled the intrigues and explosions of life in downtown New York.

American photographer Peter Hujar poses for a May 1986 portrait in Bayonne, New Jersey
… whose cover photograph was taken by Peter Hujar … Photograph: Getty Images

The game of the name

Hujar, who died in 1987 from Aids-related pneumonia, is the subject of a recent book by Linda Rosenkrantz. On 18 December 1974, she asked Hujar to document everything that happened to him in one day – the pair then discussed it, recording their conversation. The results have been transcribed in Peter Hujar’s Day. Rosenkrantz is also a baby-naming industry pioneer: in 1988 she and Pamela Redmond Satran published naming guide Beyond Jennifer & Jason.

Pamela Redmond Satran
… subject of a book by Linda Rosenkrantz, who published Beyond Jennifer & Jason with Pamela Redmond Satran (above) … Photograph: Getty Images

Get Short-ty

Redmond Satran’s 2005 novel Younger, about a woman in her 40s who pretends to be more youthful to get an entry-level job in publishing, was turned into a TV series by Darren Star (Sex and the City, Emily in Paris et al), starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff and Miriam Shor. The latter had a role in Reagan-era spy drama The Americans, created by former CIA officer Joe Weisberg.

Joe Weissberg
… whose novel Younger was televised and starred Miriam Shor, who was also in The Americans, created by Joe Weisberg … Photograph: Getty Images

T to T

Joe’s journalist brother, Jacob, is the co-founder of podcast company Pushkin Industries. Jacob’s wife is Deborah Needleman who, from 2012 to 2016, was editor of the New York Times’s T Magazine. As well as writing novels that rip your heart out, Yanagihara is a journalist; In 2017, she took over running T.

Deborah Needleman
… whose brother Jacob is married to Deborah Needleman, editor of T Magazine before Hanya Yanagihara. Photograph: Getty Images

pairing notes

Read Talk is Linda Rosencrantz’s 1968 “reality novel”, in which she taped and transcribed hours of conversations with friends, documenting more lives of bohemian 1960s New York.

Eat The Instagram account @toparadisenovel has been trailing details of the book, including a recipe for “broiled raccoon with lovage and grits”. Delicious.

black and white cartoon rabbits going down their holes through a red line

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