BookBrowse Reviews The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

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The People in the Trees

A Novel

by Hanya Yanagihara

The People in the Trees
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2013, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2014, 496 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amodini Sharma

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Dealing with complex issues such as moral relativism across cultures, this accomplished debut sheds light on the true price of progress.

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 his just deserts.

The ...

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