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Euphoria
Cover of Euphoria
Euphoria
A Novel
by Lily King

Set in 1930s Papua New Guinea, this gorgeous novel is about three young, ground-breaking anthropologists caught in a 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 two 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 to divert them from leaving Papua New Guinea, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control.

King's writing is effortlessly elegant and the setting wonderfully rich and evocative. What really sets this novel apart, though, are the brilliantly realized characters absorbed in the work of understanding the fundamental humanity that connects us all. 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.

Set in 1930s Papua New Guinea, this gorgeous novel is about three young, ground-breaking anthropologists caught in a 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 two 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 to divert them from leaving Papua New Guinea, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control.

King's writing is effortlessly elegant and the setting wonderfully rich and evocative. What really sets this novel apart, though, are the brilliantly realized characters absorbed in the work of understanding the fundamental humanity that connects us all. 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.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • LILY KING's debut novel The Pleasing Hour won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second book, The English Teacher, was winner of the Maine Fiction Award. Father of the Rain was a New York Times Editors' Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Month and winner of the 2010 New England Book Award for Fiction. Lily King lives with her family in Maine.

    WEB: LILYKINGBOOKS.COM

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 14, 2014
    The love lives and expeditions of controversial anthropologists Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson are fictionalized and richly reimagined in New England Book Award winner King’s (Father of the Rain) meaty and entrancing fourth book. Set in the 1930s in Papua New Guinea, this impeccably researched story illuminates the state of the world as clearly as the passion of its characters. Many years into his study of the isolated Kiona tribe, Andrew Bankson (the stand-in for Bateson here) is recovering from a recent failed suicide attempt when he meets with renowned anthropologist Nell Stone (Mead) and her fiery husband Fen (Fortune) at a party. His vigor for life renewed after meeting them, Andrew introduces the couple to the tribe they’ll be studying, who live a few hours away, down the Sepik River. Before long, Andrew becomes obsessed—not just with his work but with Nell, and the relationship tangle sets off a fateful series of events. While the love triangle sections do turn pages (Innuendo! Jealousy! Betrayal!), King’s immersive prose takes center stage. The fascinating descriptions of tribal customs and rituals, paired with snippets of Nell’s journals—as well as the characters’ insatiable appetites for scientific discovery—all contribute to a thrilling read that, at its end, does indeed feel like “the briefest, purest euphoria.” Agent: Julie Barer, Barer Literary.

  • Seattle Times "A riveting and provocative novel, absolutely first-rate."
  • Emma Donoghue, author of Room "This dazzling novel bites like a tropical insect, and makes anthropology seem more exciting than any other profession."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "Thrilling. . . . Intense, seductive, sexual and intellectual. . . . By the end, this reader sighed with wistful satisfaction, wishing the book would go on."
  • Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife "Jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. I loved this book."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A thrilling read that, at its end, does indeed feel like 'the briefest, purest euphoria.'"
  • Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife "Pretty much perfect. It's a novel about a Margaret Mead-like character in New Guinea in the 30s, and it's so smart and rich and alive."
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