Rarely does a book unnerve me in the way that Heart of Darkness once did, with its siren song of savagery coiled in each of our hearts. The People in the Trees does just that. Set in the 1950s, a lost tribe is discovered, the secret of immortality beckons, and one Dr. Norton Perina (future Nobel Laureate) will travel too far from the safety of the known to ever come home again unchanged. A brilliant and totally unsettling debut.
This novel is the perfect smart beach read for August. Norton Perina, a young, arrogant doctor, accepts an invitation to travel to a remote tropical island to study the native inhabitants, who seem to live for hundreds of years. The People in the Trees is dark, consuming, and crackling with energy.
A powerful work of visionary literary fiction from the bestselling author of the Man Booker Prize and National Book Award–nominated modern classic, A Little Life.
It is 1950 when Norton Perina, a young doctor, embarks on an expedition to a remote Micronesian island in search of a rumored lost tribe. There he encounters a strange group of forest dwellers who appear to have attained a form of immortality that preserves the body but not the mind. Perina uncovers their secret and returns with it to America, where he soon finds great success. But his discovery has come at a terrible cost, not only for the islanders, but for Perina himself. Disquieting yet thrilling, The People in the Trees is an anthropological adventure story with a profound and tragic vision of what happens when cultures collide.
About the Author
Hanya Yanagihara lives in New York.
One of the Best Books of the Year Chicago Tribune• San Francisco Chronicle• The Wall Street Journal • Publishers Weekly • Huffington Post • Cosmopolitan
“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 TimesBook Review
“A mystery story, an ecological parable, a monstrous confession, and a fascinating consideration of moral relativism. . . . A triumph of the imagination." —Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See
“Haunting. . . . A standout novel . . . thrilling.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Fascinating and multilayered. . . . [Yanagihara’s] storytelling is masterful. . . . Hugely ambitious and entertaining.” —TheBoston Globe
“A deeply satisfying adventure story. . . . Provokes discussions about science, morality and our obsession with youth.” —Chicago Tribune
“Hauntingly strange and utterly convincing. . . . A novel you will finish and immediately want to read again; a complex, elegant and wonderfully troubling debut.” —Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet
“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 (London)
“An engrossing, beautifully detailed, at times amazing (and shocking) novel." —Paul Theroux, author of The Lower River and The Great Railway Bazaar
“Enthralling . . . deeply entertaining.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“By turns brilliant, provocative and profoundly sobering.” —Independent on Sunday (London)
“Captivating—and thoroughly unsettling." —Vogue
“Impossible to resist. . . . Packed with a symphony of complex themes made accessible by the sheer poetry of [Yanagihara’s] prose. . . . [A] brilliantly told story." —The Daily Mail (London)
“A Nabokovian phantasmagoria. . . . Hanya Yanagihara is a writer to watch.” —Madison Smartt Bell, author of The Color of Night and All Souls’ Rising