The People In the Trees
contemplates the cost of scientific discovery and its effects on society as a whole. The primary character, Dr. Abraham Norton Perina (who is roughly modeled after the real-life Nobel Laureate Daniel Carleton Gajdusek) is a renowned scientist and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine. His professional achievements notwithstanding, Perina has been convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his adopted children, a fact we come to know early on.
The reader learns of Perina's life history through his memoirs, which are presented by a close friend and associate, Dr. Ronald Kubodera. Kubodera writes a preface to the memoirs and embellishes his friend's words with technical footnotes. Viewing a life through two prisms, the reader is left to decide whether Perina is a good man who was simply misunderstood, or a criminal getting...
Beyond the Book
In The People of The Trees
, Perina and Tallent journey to the fictional Micronesian states of U'ivu and Ivu'ivu. While these particular islands are fictitious, the region of Micronesia, literally "small island" in Greek is composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Australia.
From 1947, most of the nearly 2,500 islands that make up Micronesia were administered by the United States as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1986, the Trust Territory was dissolved...