Three anthropologists find themselves on the island of New Guinea in the 1930s: Nell Stone, discerning and famous, à la Margaret Meade; Fen Stone, her jealous and rough husband; and Andrew Banson, the loner who lusts after Nell when he’s not meditating on the untimely death of his brother. Together, they unearth an ancient mystery and usurp a fragile peace among the Tam society. Perfect pacing and captivating voices make Euphoria one of my favorite books this year.— Louise
I work in Bookshop’s Receiving Department, and whenever a copy of this book arrives I take a few moments to mull it over before tucking it away to be shelved. Euphoria is simply an excellent novel filled with emotions both raw and refined. I keep getting swept back to that small island where our three anthropologists meet, where the Tam society that renowned Nell Stone studies awakens in her all the desires that women were/are denied. If you’re looking for an intelligent summer fling, pick this up.— Louise
This is getting a lot of hype, but fear not--the hype is well earned. The story of three anthropologists in Papua New Guinea in the 1930s, Euphoria is a great old-fashioned read: well-drawn characters, solid (but not overly determined) plot, and great writing. King has clearly done her homework to get the historical and cultural details right, but she weaves it all in seamlessly. The story unfolds as though she herself lived it, with perfect pacing and surprising yet believable details on nearly every page. This one easily makes my short list of the best books of the year— Rico
Beautifully written and meticulously researched, King’s fictionalized account of Margaret Mead’s 1933 journey to New Guinea is historical fiction at its best. The atmospheric prose immediately drew me in and I felt like I was right there with Mead as she struggled to adapt to the humid jungle environment and the steamy love triangle in which she found herself entangled.— Jade
“Loosely based on Margaret Mead's time in Papua New Guinea, this engaging, insightful novel features three young anthropologists in the 1930s who studied the remote, primitive Sepik River tribes. Euphoria is about cutting-edge research and revolutionary ideas, but inevitably it is also about the complications within the scholars' relationships when societal norms are stripped away, and love, greed, jealousy, and control are left unfettered. Artfully narrated, alternating between first person and third person as well as journal entries, King's novel offers a unique view into these rich and complicated characters.”
— Katie McDougall, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the 30s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and ultimately, their lives.
English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby the artistic, female-dominated Tam he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control.
Set between two World Wars and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, "Euphoria" is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration, and sacrifice from accomplished author Lily King.