Winner of the Kirkus Prize for Fiction 2014 and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards
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 to divert them from leaving Papua New Guinea, 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.
PRAISE FOR EUPHORIA
"A taut, witty, fiercely intelligent tale of competing egos and desires in a landscape of exotic menace-a love triangle in extremis... King is brilliant" New York Times Book Review
"Atmospheric and sensual, with startling images throughout, Euphoria is an intellectually stimulating tour de force." NPR.com
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."
Customer ReviewsSee All
A totally absorbing story, real but unreal too. I was hooked from the first page. Ms King is a marvellous writer and I want more.