The People in the Trees

The People in the TreesThe People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one tough book to review.

I almost gave up early on. Basically this is the fictional autobiography of an especially unlikable narcissist and probably sociopath who's only redeemable characteristic is that be is a brilliant, or maybe just extremely lucky, medical researcher who goes by the name of Norton. I may have quit the book early on except that Norton's rat-a-tat-tat narration, somewhat like Oskar in "The Tin Drum", kept me intrigued. It wasn't that I particularly liked the experience, but the book seemed in a hurry to get somewhere and I wanted to get there too.

There turned out to be the "Dreamers",the people in the trees, an amazing discovery with a twist, yada-yada could change the world. As events proceed Norton, when he's not behaving like a petulant child appears, possibly, take turn towards being human. Will he atone for his sins? Maybe. He rescues (adopts) children from the land he helped destroy. Guilt?


Nope, As it turns out Norton is even worse than I'd imagined. This brought up the question: What was I reading and why?

If execution is everything then this novel is worthy of three stars--probably more. Yet I can't recommend it. Maybe as an expose of the mind of a sociopath it has merit--maybe. As for me, I feel as though I was led through a dark and dreary labyrinth. There were hints of light along the way, but not much. I think there was a Catholic moment that may have thrown me off: penance, forgiveness, and time spent in Purgatory. But, after turning the final corner it turn out the glimmer of light was actually a pile shit! This book is definitely not for everybody. As it turns out it wasn't even for me. Yanagihara may someday be considered a great author, but this is not the book that will have me looking up whatever other work she may have out there.

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