BOOK REPORT: THE PEOPLE IN THE TREES BY HANYA YANAGIHARA

Let's pretend this was my Book-O-Ganza selection! 😬
  1. I first read about this title through @offtheshelfofficial 's 8 Triumphant Novels of Scientific Discovery list:
    8 Triumphant Novels of Scientific Discovery. I want to read all of these, and also highly recommend the list entry Euphoria by Lily King, a fictionalized account of Margaret Mead's early career that's rooted in the complicated facts of her romantic and professional relationships. Another novel about cultural anthropology I really like is Far Afield by Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted).
  2. This was Yanagihara's debut novel and my big spring break read.
    Now I really want to dive into A Little Life, her National Book Award-nominated title from last year. So, yes, I really liked it!
  3. It is written as the memoirs of biologist and Nobel laureate Norton Perina who has had an illustrious career and a scandalous fall from grace.
    His life's work begins when he joins an anthropological research expedition to a little Micronesian archipelago where a segment of the population lives well into the triple digits. Perina figures out why and documents the aftermath of his discoveries and subsequent trips back to the U'ivu Islands.
  4. I've been thinking quite a bit lately about how/whether/when we separate art that moves or inspires us from the flawed artists who create it. This book asks us the same kinds of questions:
    The jacket queries: "If a great man does unspeakable things, is he still a great man? How do we reconcile a person's failings with his genius?"
  5. Yanagihara's prose is rich and beautiful. Anthony Doerr wrote a blurb for the book and if you liked his style in All the Light We Cannot See, I think you'll like hers, too.
  6. If you're looking for likable characters or an optimistic rendering of human frailty, this is not the book for you.
    I've heard that A Little Life is emotionally wrenching and this one definitely packs a punch, too. I know I'll be thinking about it for a long time.