- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (5 Feb. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857898973
- ISBN-13: 978-0857898975
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The People in the Trees Paperback – 5 Feb 2015
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An absorbing, intelligent and uncompromising novel which beguiles and unnerves. The first memorable novel of 2014 is already here - Independent
Told in the form of a memoir in the voice of the extremely unlikeable Perina, it is impossible to resist being drawn into the mind of this brilliant but depraved man. And to feel a little disturbed at having enjoyed such a strange but brilliantly told story. The book is packed with a symphony of complex themes made accessible by the sheer poetry of the author's prose - Daily Mail
Power and its abuses are at the heart of this beautifully written debut... Striking and highly satisfying. Yanagihara's ambitious debut is one to be lauded.--Guardian
Feels like a National Geographic story by way of Conrad's Heart of Darkness... the world Yanagihara conjures up, full of dark pockets of mystery, is magical. - The Times
Suspenseful... Thanks to Yanagihara's rich, masterly prose, it's hard to turn away... Yanagihara is a writer to marvel at - New York Times
A standout novel, a debut as thrilling as it is disturbing... So exciting... Haunting--Wall Street Journal
Yanagihara's enthralling debut... is at once learned, morally serious and deeply entertaining... In Perina, Yanagihara has created a perverse and spellbinding narrator--San Francisco Chronicle
“Haunting ... A standout novel ... thrilling.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Exhaustingly inventive and almost defiant in its refusal to offer redemption or solace. ... As for Yanagihara, she is a writer to marvel at.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Captivating―and thoroughly unsettling.” (Vogue) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the book we follow the life of acclaimed scientist Norton Perina from his humble beginnings living on a farm as a young boy, through to a stunning discovery he makes wholly by chance, to his ultimate downfall for sexually abusing one of the children he eventually adopts in droves. Some time in his mid-twenties, disillusioned and disliked by most of his laboratory colleagues, Perina is offered the chance to spend a number of months on the isolated islets of U'ivu and Ivu'ivu searching for a lost tribe of hunter gatherers. Soon he and his companions meet up with the intended lost peoples but their existence is soon eclipsed by their apparent longevity. Perina links the tribe's long-livedness to the consumption of a previously unknown turtle species, the opa'ivu'eke. He smuggles some of the turtle flesh back to the US and earns his fame (winning a Nobel prize) whilst at the same time dooming the island's unique culture. As time passes and the population of the prized turtle is eradicated by ravenous pharmaceutical companies and the island's existence is irrevocably altered for the worse, Norton resorts to adopting the native children as a way of penance for his actions. His treatment of the wards in his care is the eventual reason he finds himself in prison and writing the memoirs that make up the book.Read more ›
I’d first like to applaud the book for its sophisticated construction and the elaborate framing that recasts the Unreliable Narrator into something more potent and concentrated: the Unreliable Narrator and his Editor friend. For the reader, the resultant memoir comes doubly parsed and needs an intellectual Enigma machine to read into the commissions, omissions (confessed and unconfessed), sequence of presentation of facts, footnotes to champion or contradict, tone of various justifications and the length of each of these elements. This is, at once exhausting but somewhat rewarding for the reader because it brings to fore the fallacy and tragedy that remains at the core of every autobiography (and biography), not least the ones written with intention to invoke empathy: they remain a mere shadow of the real person who lived, behaved, acted honourably and committed misdemeanours. While the outsiders might confer, hypothesise and conflate from observed external behaviour, the insider is equally handicapped with blind-spots in his/her insight that renders every recounting of life a mere penumbra (and this when we haven’t even begun to account for the mind’s propensity to biases, predilection to creating stories and narratives, linearity etc).Read more ›
Part of the problem is the way all the major plot points are revealed in advance. If you read the blurb and the prologue / preface / start of the framing of the story, you will know every significant story development before the first bit of narrative starts. That is not the way of thrillers, and it is not the best way to tell of adventures. (Some adventure stories do give you a gist in advance - but they leave enough details for the main story to thrill you with. This book does not leave such room for excitement: it really does give you everything that's interesting in advance)
So, forget about narrative tension, forget about wanting to find out what happens next: you already know what happens next, pretty much all the way to the final page.
Fine. It must be the writing voice, then, which bewitches and seduces you, takes you away from your own life and into another. Right?
Well, our narrator is a scientist. He's a callous, hard-to-like, arrogant and judgemental man. But his tone of voice is matter-of-fact and the reading experience is roughly comparable to reading a very long Wikipedia article. (A summary at the start, and then fact upon fact upon fact).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The People in the Trees is well written book which I enjoyed reading but it was very challenging. The subject matters makes it a book I won't be recommending to everyone but I... Read morePublished 2 months ago by S C Plant
While this is not an easy author or read I wanted to read if after the book nominated for the Booker Prize by the same Author. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Alyke Thorpe
I found this novel gripping and challenging, and I loved the clever conceit of the narrator defending a colleague. Not for the reader looking for a cosy story, though!Published 4 months ago by Helen
Sorry but didn't get this at all and ground my way to the end with little or no enjoyment.
Maybe she got into the mind of the main protagonist too well. Tedious. Read more
Bought for Kindle - it did go on a little too long and it was easy to see what was going to happen but well told and the story appealed to me.Published 6 months ago by AAA
A well worked and imagined riff on the case of the Nobel laureate discoverer of Kuru and his subsequent conviction as a paedophile. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dr.
Found this book confusing and hard to read. Subject fiction but difficult due to descriptive writing that seemed muddled. Hard to followPublished 7 months ago by Cath
I greatly enjoyed A Little Life, but was rather disappointed by this book.Published 8 months ago by ben wright
beautifully written, but not enough and too much substance at the same timePublished 10 months ago by AK