A Little Life: A Novel by Hanya Yanagihara:
Aside from their stage-door visits, it felt like he never saw Willem these days, and for all Willem talked about how lazy he was, it seemed he was constantly at work, or trying to work: three years ago, on his twenty-ninth birthday, he had sworn that he was going to quit Ortolan before he turned thirty, and two weeks before his thirtieth birthday, the two of them had been in the apartment, squashed into their newly partitioned living room, Willem worrying about whether he could actually afford to leave his job, when he got a call, the call he had been waiting for for years. The play that had resulted from that call had been enough of a success, and had gotten Willem enough attention, to allow him to quit Ortolan for good thirteen months later: just one year past his self-imposed deadline. He had gone to see Willem’s play—a family drama called The Malamud Theorem, about a literature professor in the early throes of dementia, and his estranged son, a physicist—five times, twice with Malcolm and JB, and once with Harold and Julia, who were in town for the weekend, and each time he managed to forget that it was his old friend, his roommate, onstage, and at curtain call, he had felt both proud and wistful, as if the stage’s very elevation announced Willem’s ascendancy to some other realm of life, one not easily accessible to him.
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