The People in the Trees

Hanya Yanagihara


Hanya Yanagihara’s debut novel proves her masterful and brilliant creativity; her unique and raw writing and storytelling abilities.

Norton was interesting and driven. He never seemed like an obvious monster. He wasn’t over-exaggerated; he was believable. Yanagihara does an exquisite job at presenting Norton’s story and his feelings; at presenting his mind and everything that entails the complexity of human existence.

Hanya Yanagihara’s novels are definitely marathons; they are not sprints. And they are not, I’ve decided, for the faint of heart. Even 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 didn’t make me as uneasy as the ending of this novel managed to make me, and that book is full of devastation. But I wasn’t fully expecting it — or rather, I knew something had to be coming, just not in the way that it was presented — and thus, it slapped me in the face. But I loved that.

Yanagihara’s novels get real uncomfortable, but they are never forgettable. I could have gone without this novel’s ending — because while perhaps you kind of expect it in the back of your head, nothing on writing would confirm what you thought. Until it did. And it wasn’t pretty; but it was real; honest — albeit disgusting and spine-tingling, but nonetheless, honest. And that’s what I’ll appreciate about it.

Yanagihara has once again made me deeply feel something in such an artistic and composed, subtle way. It’s such an opposite depth of what I might feel in romance novels; as what I feel as adoration and wholeness is replaced with revulsion and horror. But it’s why she’s one of my favorite authors and why I do not shy away from her stories. I know by the end of it, I’ll have felt something from one extreme end to the other. It’s anything but boring. I may be left with a feeling of complete displeasure, but I will know that she has done her job, and why I know I’ll pick up all of her books.

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