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Roving Book Club

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” ― Neil Gaiman

The People In The Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara

Read by Tiffany - Disturbing in so many ways.
Norton Perina is the most abhorrent main character I have read through. From the beginning he is arrogant and self-absorbed.
Perina is obviously gay, describing a male colleague in glowing terms (proceeding to erotic dreams), whilst a female colleague is described in misogynistic and repulsive terms .. everything about her disgusts him.



Discovering the lost tribe sodomises boys on coming of age, he states that both this knowledge and his colleagues shocked reactions show how social lines are drawn by collective decision, not moral absolute .. but he never harks back to this later, and the distinction is never drawn between homosexuality and paedophilia which made me very unhappy.

As the story proceeds into Perina's 60s, he admits a little fallibility, mostly of the 'my mistake was trying to do good' variety. I kept reading trying to see where the book would go - was his conviction a mistake? Was his arrogence his downfall? Did he or didn't he?


The Epilogue of violent repeated sodomy of a troublesome adopted child, and admission of committing the same with all the boys he adopted, leaves no doubt - and this reader disturbed beyond measure.

(show spoiler)