Euphoria by Lily King was the April choice for one of my book groups. It’s not a book that I It’s always good to read something out of one’s usual type.
Euphoria is a fictionalized story of a time in Margaret Mead’s life while she was in New Guinea in the 1930’s, along with anthropologists Reo Fortune and Gregory Bateson.
Andrew Bankson (Gregory Bateson) had been researching the Kiona tribe for years in New Guinea. He had been relatively isolated and was recovering from a suicide attempt and dealing with his two brother’s deaths when he met the famous Nell Stone (Margaret Mead) and her husband Fen (Reo Fortune). The three quickly took to each other. Nell and Fen were planning to leave New Guinea after a hard and rather disappointing time spent researching there. Andrew was quite fascinated with the couple and did not want them to leave, so he convinced them that he would introduce them to another tribe that would be worth researching. Andrew took them up the river a few hours from where he lived and introduced them to another tribe, the Tam. The Tam was unusual in that the females were more powerful than the males.
By this time, Andrew was aware of his strong feelings and longing for Nell and was battling his desire to see and be around her. He stayed away for a few weeks, and then went to visit to see how Nell and Fen were getting along in their new environment. While there, Andrew and Nell became closer and tensions began to mount between Andrew, Nell and Fen.
Not only is this a story of three young anthropologists and their love triangle. It is also a book that does an excellent job relating the lives of anthropologist and the different ways that they study cultures. The three each had their own styles and ways of studying the subjects and that was also another conflict in the story. It was very interesting to read about the different tribes and their cultures.
This book has won many awards, including winning the 2014 Kirkus Prize and the 2014 New England Book Award for Fiction.