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Publisher's Summary

In 1950, a young doctor call Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumoured lost tribe. They succeed in finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub ‘The Dreamers’, who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile.

Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price.

As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

©2013 Hanya Yanagihara (P)2013 Audible Ltd

What listeners say about The People in the Trees

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Um... I'm not sure...

Would you try another book written by Hanya Yanagihara or narrated by Jeff Harding?

I read "A Little Life", and it was possibly the best book I've ever read. That urged me to pick up another Hanya Yanagihara book - The People in the Trees.

Was The People in the Trees worth the listening time?

It was... not bad. But it was also not great. I found it a bit of a muddled story about lust and abuse that didn't come together well. (Hanya ended up completely nailing this theme in her next book "A Little Life"). It was a long book, and I listened to the end. To be honest, I think it was Jeff Harding's narration that won me over. His adaptation of the lead character was spot on for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Not for the faint of heart

There were times when reading this was wonderous and others times disturbing. The author is quite unique and somewhat an acquired tast. The best part was the raw examination of human nature and why it is wondrous and disturbing... because that is life.

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Disturbing

Wonderfully read, I won't easily forget this book. What a story!! made all the more amazing that it's basis is in fact.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-10-2018

no more Hanya books for me

The pedo stuff is just too much for me to forgive the otherwise compelling storyline.

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  • LBB
  • 23-04-2014

Bizarre. Unique. Uncomfortable.

I won't say I didn't enjoy this book because I did, I did but... It left me uncomfortable for the fact. A wonderful story of hidden natural wonders sandwiched between some very teeth clenching events of extreme taboo for our society underwritten with the questions of how such things are perceived by other societies - a questioning of moral values which no one wants to face.

Uncomfortable stuff, by the end, but none the less magical in parts.

3 people found this helpful

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  • sarah
  • 22-01-2014

narrator seemed as bored as his listeners

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A narrator who seemed to be enjoying the story

What was most disappointing about Hanya Yanagihara’s story?

The epilogue. It was too predictable, and there could have been a good twist there.

Any additional comments?

I carried on listening, partly because I'd paid for it, and partly in hope for an amazing ending. I didn't have any empathy with the main character, and no other character was fleshed out enough to get to know. I didn't know where the story was going but was left deflated.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Clare D
  • 09-01-2014

Intelligent and Interesting

What did you like most about The People in the Trees?

Absorbing story, good unusual and plausible characterisation, interesting ideas.

What other book might you compare The People in the Trees to, and why?

Similar book? (question has changed for some reason!) The Heart Broke In by James Meek. Both have scientific themes, and both feature a strong character as scientist who is not conventionally sympathetic.

Have you listened to any of Jeff Harding’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Jeff Harding's performance was good - clear and well-timed - and impressed with how he used different voices to convey different characters.

Any additional comments?

The story is presented in the form of an edited journal so the reader gets to hear the editor's and the main main character's point of view. I liked the juxtaposition of the two. It was a good way of presenting information.

2 people found this helpful

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  • leigh
  • 31-12-2013

grr his voice is soo annoying

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Did not like the voice

Has The People in the Trees put you off other books in this genre?

Definitely not

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jeff Harding?

keeble

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I didn't finish this book so my rating is unfair

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lesleyboyd
  • 10-11-2015

At times uncomfortable but a great story

Interlaced throughout this great and original story there are some very uncomfortable issues regarding child abuse and animal experimentation. These are not dwelt on in a moralising way or addressed they just form part of the story. This does therefore challenge the 'enjoyment' of the story as I was always waiting for another horror to make me cringe or to come to a conclusion. However, this aside the storyline is ambitious and engrossing and very thought provoking. I can't say I enjoyed this book but i'm glad I have read it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mollymoon1
  • 26-08-2014

Em - Harsh, but well written

Crikey – this is a skwirmingly, harsh, hideous and brutal story. But it is extremely well written although the content is somewhat indescribable. In some places, in particular at the beginning of the book, the drawn out and unnecessary barbarity of the story teller, Norton Perina’s entrance and background beginnings could probably have been watered down, as in my view it added nothing and left me feeling quite sick. I found him a dislikeable fellow. However, as we approach the middling of this tale the story becomes awkward and yet you are compelled to continue with it having struggled to get thus far. I was intrigued as to where the story was going to take me and at this stage began to like the main character and find him a person of substance. On coming to the end of this indescribable tale the story was again getting back to the uncomfortable and having felt sympathy for Perina, I had been duped by an abuser and had I known the book would take the turn it did, I probably wouldn’t have listened. Take on board a few reviews before making a decision as to whether you might want to spend your money on this story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anne Miller
  • 13-12-2020

Life is too short

Life is too short for books like this. I wanted to like this book or find some redeeming chapter/character but I couldn’t. My book club all felt the same. It’s a rare time we all agreed about the group book!

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