The People in the Trees

The People in the Trees

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Joining an anthropologist's 1950 expedition to discover a lost tribe on a remote Micronesian island, a young doctor investigates and proves a theory that the tribe's considerable longevity is linked to a rare turtle, a finding that brings worldwide fame and unexpected consequence.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday, c2013
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780385536776
Characteristics: 368 p. :,maps


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

A strange and disturbing debut novel, this one has stayed with me for some time. Despite its flaws (perspective and structure), I enjoyed this one more than Yanagihara's more popular A Little Life.

olga_larionova Feb 14, 2016

This book is about conflict of science and conscience. It is a difficult read, true, but fascinating nevertheless.
Very hard to read in Overdrive - the footnotes were driving me bananas, as it's impossible to click on a number and go to a footnote and then go back. Instead, I just read all the footnotes AFTER finishing the chapter.

Jun 15, 2015

THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT PEDOPHILIA. It is a well written book which deals with pedophilia obliquely, but in the end that is what this book is about. In other words, pedophilia is, for most of the book, in the distant background, so much so that it possible to enjoy the rest of the story without thinking about it too much. The end, however, makes it clear that pedophilia was really the topic all along.
This book I does not present anything new about the world or the human condition so the only reason to read it is for entertainment. The writing was so well done that it is entertaining but personally I find non-pedophile based books more worthwhile to read.

Jun 06, 2015

I'm sorry to say I found nothing to like about this book. The main character was a simple, arrogant narrcissist with nothing of worth to share. The concept of the book is facile and done before in much better ways. The twist at the end is an obvious metaphor. If i wasn't reading this for a book club, would have put it down.

Mar 20, 2015

This book is a really excellent read, but a disturbing, perhaps shocking, plot element will offend some. I found it an interesting corollary to "The Island of the Colorblind," a nonfiction scientific examination of another South Pacific island written by Oliver Sachs.

geezr_rdr Aug 28, 2014

This is not an enjoyable book, particularly in the Kindle format, where the footnotes are a particular irritation. The monologues by the chronic whiner Nobel laureate, Norton Perina, required a large amount of text skimming in order to get to relevant clumps of the story. The purpose for this book may be the portrayal of a supremely self-justified individual as a model for a celebrated scientist, but the portrayal is flawed in that Norton doesn't really have the chops (the ability) to be successful, due in part to excessive mental wanking without a moral or ethical framework. In my opinion, an interesting concept but mediocre execution.

Aug 04, 2014


Feb 22, 2014

A compelling read. I loved the layering of narrative...the self-deprecating journal entries, the news items, and the overall blind love of a man who pulls together the story of abuse--to both old and young--without prejudice. Of course, the theme of living longer but with dementia strikes home. But the theme that intrigued me was how we can sometimes accept or overlook the dark side--or simply narcissism--of people if they are brilliant or successful in some way. How many of us, and how often, we are protected by social connections, fame, or simple infatuation. . .a startling and thoughtful read on so many levels.

quagga Nov 21, 2013

Dr. Norton Perina is a fascinating character, a closeted gay man who seems nearly incapable of experiencing emotion.

brianreynolds Oct 20, 2013

Hanya Yanagihara's The People in the Trees reads so much like a non-fiction memoir that it's difficult to review it as a story. The themes of the book—the conflict between anthropology and science, the destruction of indigenous culture, the impact of media on scientific investigation, and finally childhood sexuality and pedophilia—are bravely explored through the very believable voice of Dr. Norton Perina during the second half of the twentieth century. But the story, aside from his recounting of his adult life up until his release from prison at age 73, seems to hang on two questions that are "answered" in the Preface: Will Norton discover an actual way of extending human life to ages in excess of several centuries and will he be found guilty of the sexual assault of a minor? While Trees reads like a heroic adventure, since Dr. Perina sees his life in that light, the novel's punch lies in the irony of stasis. In isolation, anthropology and science, both fail to adequately deal with the clash of cultures. Without popular support, science doesn't go very far; with it, science is often expropriated or manipulated for interests that wind up being destructive. It is not just possible, but probable, that people who are smart and generous about some things can be foolish and criminal about others. This was an intriguing read, an exceptional example of how prose from a learned voice can be both beautiful and moving.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at PEPL

To Top