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Euphoria (King)

Euphoria 
Lily King, 2014
Grove Atlantic
256 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780802122551



Summary
From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the ‘30’s 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. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—N/A
Where—State of Massachusetts, USA
Education—B.A., University of North Carolina; M.A., Syracuse University
Awards—Whiting Writers' Award; Raymon Carver Prize; New England
   Book Award; 2 Maine Fiction Awards
Currently—lives in Yarmouth, Maine


Lily King’s first novel, The Pleasing Hour (1999) won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second, The English Teacher, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the Maine Fiction Award. Her third novel, Father of the Rain (2010), was a New York Times Editors Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year and winner of both the New England Book Award for Fiction and the Maine Fiction Award. Her fourth novel Euphoria was published 2014.

Lily King grew up in Massachusetts and received her B.A. in English Literature from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has taught English and Creative Writing at several universities and high schools in this country and abroad.

Lily is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines including Ploughshares and Glimmer Train, as well as in several anthologies. (Adapted from the publisher.)



Book Reviews
In Euphoria, the novelist Lily King has taken the known details of that occasion—a 1933 field trip to the Sepik River, in New Guinea, during which Mead and her second husband, Reo Fortune, briefly collaborated with the man who would become her third husband, the English anthropologist Gregory Bateson—and blended them into a story of her own devising. The result is as uncanny as it is transporting. Euphoria is a meticulously researched homage to Mead’s restless mind and a considered portrait of Western anthropology in its primitivist heyday. It’s also a taut, witty, fiercely intelligent tale of competing egos and desires in a landscape of exotic menace—a love triangle in extremis.
Emily Eakin - New York Times Book Review


King's superb coup is to have imagined a story loosely founded on the intertwined lives of the above three that instantly becomes its own, thrilling saga—while provoking a detective's curiosity about its sources.... There are so many exhilarating elements to savor... By the end of Euphoria, this reader sighed with wistful satisfaction, wishing the book would go on. Brava to Lily King.
Joan Frank - San Francisco Chronicle


It’s the rare novel of ideas that devours its readers’ attention.... It’s not a literary form known for its great romances, either, although of course love and sex play a role in most fictional characters’ lives. Lily King’s Euphoria, a shortish novel based on a period in the life of pioneering anthropologist Margaret Mead, is an exception. At its center is a romantic triangle, and it tells a story that begs to be consumed in one or two luxurious binges... King is a sinewy, disciplined writer who wisely avoids the temptation to evoke the overwhelming physicality of the jungle (the heat, the steam, the bugs) by generating correspondingly lush thickets of language. Her story... sticks close to the interlocking bonds that give the novel its tensile power.
Laura Miller - Salon

"

(Starred review.) While the love triangle sections do turn pages..., 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."
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) [The] three-way relationship is complex and involving, but even more fascinating is the depiction of three anthropologists with three entirely diverse ways of studying another culture..... These differences, along with professional jealousy and sexual tension, propel the story toward its inevitable conclusion. —Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC
Library Journal


Set between the First and Second World Wars, the story is loosely based on events in the life of Margaret Mead. There are fascinating looks into other cultures and how they are studied, and the sacrifices and dangers that go along with it. This is a powerful story, at once gritty, sensuous, and captivating.”—Booklist
Booklist


(Starred review.)[C]learly based on anthropologist Margaret Mead's relationship with her second and third husbands, R. F. Fortune and Gregory Bateson—neither a slouch in his own right.... King does not shy from showing the uncomfortable relationship among all three anthropologists and those they study.... A small gem, disturbing and haunting.
Kirkus Reviews



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