Five words from the blurb: anthropologist, tribe, discovery, miraculous, terrible
I bought a copy of this book when Steph, one of my favourite bloggers, raved about it. It’s been sat on my shelf for ages, but I finally got around to reading it and found it was well worth the wait. The People in the Trees is the perfect blend of science, moral dilemma and mystery – all wrapped up in a clever structure.
The book begins with Norton, a Nobel Prize winning scientist, being arrested for paedophillia. The rest of the book travels back in time, explaining what happened prior to his arrest. It shows how Norton came to fame studying a tribe from a remote Micronesian island. These people claimed to become immortal after eating a rare turtle and as Norton researched their society he made a break-through discovery. The subsequent media frenzy is heartbreaking to read and perfectly captures many of the problems with our society today.
Norton was a fantastic character. He was deeply flawed, but I found myself empathising with him – and this was troubling on many occasions. The book managed to hold my attention throughout, despite the fact that the majority of the plot was revealed within the first few pages. I also loved the way it questioned our way of life, making me re-think several of my own beliefs.
The People of the Trees is an anthropological adventure and it felt completely plausible – an impressive feat for such an unlikely story. Much of the book reminded me of The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, as they blend science and fiction in a similarly compelling way. The writing styles shared so many aspects that I wouldn’t have been surprised if you told me both books were written by the same author. I’m sure that anyone who enjoyed one would appreciate the other.
The disturbing themes mean that this book isn’t suitable for everyone, but if you’re intrigued by the darker side of human nature The People of the Trees is a must-read.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
This is one of those rare books that truly defies any attempt to classify it. Jenny Blenk
So my beef with The People in the Trees isn’t with the disgusting revelations per se but that they seemed so disjointed with the rest of the book; therefore, seeming to have no place in it. 1776 Books
I found the book and Perina fascinating and disturbing. Tia’s Book Musings