Remember how, after I read The Magus, I noted that, while I don’t mind challenging books, I don’t like books that are entirely, unequivocally, effed up? Yeah, well, note that I at least finished The Magus. I’m not finishing Hanya Yanagihara’s The People in the Trees.
Here’s the blurb on Goodreads:
“In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.”
Interesting! you might say. Intriguing! even. Except the blurb-writer forgot to include one little tidbit: CHILD RAPE.
Wait? What? you say. Shouldn’t that be…mentioned? I certainly think it should be, especially since it happens more than once and is a major part of the novel. I was reading along, minding my own business, enjoying myself when, about 50% in, the protagonist witnesses a tribal custom in which nine village elders rape a 10-year-old boy. Yes, indeed. I kept going, though, until at the 52% mark, the protagonist is wandering around the woods, runs into a child from the village, and said child apparently tries to seduce the doctor. I stopped reading when hands cupped genitals because that was more than enough, thank you.
Again, I don’t mind a challenge, but I want to enjoy what I read, not be traumatized by it. So I put down the book, and I don’t plan to read it again. I’m not even getting into various Goodreads reviewers’ moral relativism arguments. Nope. DONE.
That is all.
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