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Euphoria

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  81,271 ratings  ·  7,798 reviews
Inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the li
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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Hameeda Fen wanted the flute to make him more famous than his wife Nellie. She had written a book and had a grant for her work while he was just living off of…moreFen wanted the flute to make him more famous than his wife Nellie. She had written a book and had a grant for her work while he was just living off of that grant. The flute would have given him the recognition he was looking for.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Danielle McClellan
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  81,271 ratings  ·  7,798 reviews


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switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Three anthropologists form a circumstantial friendship in the 1930s while studying tribes in Papua, New Guinea. American Nell Stone (who is inspired by Margaret Mead) already has a best selling book on natives of the Solomon Islands. Nell's Australian husband, Fen, is jealous of her success, and is often reproachful and competitive. He is desperate to make a name for himself, and, instead of collaborating with Nell, he keeps his work hidden. However, Fen admits to a genuine regard for his wife's ...more
Debbie
As they were leaving the Mumbanyo, someone threw something at them. It bobbed a few yards from the stern of the canoe. A pale brown thing.
‘Another dead baby,’ Fen said.
He had broken her glasses by then, so she didn’t know if he was joking.


That’s the beginning of this gem! I was a goner before I knew what hit me. Don’t worry, the book isn’t full of dead babies, but it’s full of life and gorgeous writing and intriguing characters and I can’t end this sentence because I can’t stop raving about thi
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Julie
I picture Lily King in her office, surrounded by a library’s worth of research materials. Drafts of Euphoria are stacked in descending towers along one wall, each draft a stair-step lower. I picture a writer chipping away at her words, like a sculptor to marble, until the true work reveals itself; the words coming to life in the reader’s imagination the way hard, cold stone warms like flesh under the hand.

Euphoria was inspired by anthropologist Margaret Mead and her experiences along the Sepik
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Angela M
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites
I loved so much about this novel - the writing, the atmosphere, the tension of the love triangle, a glimpse of what it might have been like for renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead as she studied native tribes in New Guinea. Even though this novel is inspired by a short time in Mead’s life, it is not a factual account or a biographical novel. If you go in with that expectation, you might be disappointed because the story doesn’t fully follow the details of Margaret Mead’s life. I took it on its ...more
Violet wells
To begin with I had the feeling I was really going to enjoy this. There wasn’t going to be any wizardry or groundbreaking technique to this novel. Rather it seemed it would be a riveting story told by an accomplished writer with a passion for her subject and a very easy and poised prose style. Quickly there’s a sense that the real tribes under scrutiny here are men and women. But I felt King could have been a little more subtle and certainly more probing with this anthropological irony. Then it ...more
David Putnam
Oct 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF. I absolutely loved Writers and Lovers so maybe my expectations were too high. This book was nothing like Writers and Lovers, a totally different voice which is the "Everything," in writing for me. This read more like a travel log, or a journal and lacked the same emotion.
d.
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Elyse  Walters
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"I can feel the relationships, the likes & dislikes in the room in a way I could never speak.
You don't realize how language actually interferes with communication until you
don't have it, how it gets in the way like and overdominant sense".

"Nell was laughing with him and I wasn't sure what had just happened: who had asked
the questions, whose questions were asked, how he got that story out for him when
he did not want to tell it, when he had kept it a secret all his life. Bolunta.
They 'want' to te
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Jen
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Euphoria is my new favourite read of 2015. The title itself captivated me until the story grabbed and pulled at me and I, too, felt intense pleasure and well being. It’s New Guinea circa 1932. Three anthropologists - Nell and Fen, a couple, and Andrew who travels solo, meet up at a Christmas party after having travelled to the inner most remote areas of the region seeking out tribes and attempting to decipher cultures. This friendship creates an opportunity to shed the loneliness and isolation t ...more
Debbie "DJ"
Holy moly, I couldn't put down the last third of this incredible book. Review to follow...when I catch my breath!

Okay, breath caught. Pretty obvious, I loved this book! Yes, it's the story of early anthrolopology, loosely based on Margaret Mead. When I started reading, I thought it was good, but also a little slow. However, once I got into the second half I literally couldn't put it down! The story revolves around three main characters, Nell, her husband Fen, and fellow anthropologist Bankson. W
...more
PorshaJo
Rating 4.25

I remember when this came out, the cover drew me in, it's gorgeous. But I don't know why I didn't read it. This year, after seeing so many great reviews on Writers and Lovers, I picked it up. I wanted more from this author. Then, she was doing a talk in my town (moved to virtual) and I wanted to attend, so it was the perfect time to pick this one up. It was a buddy read with Dana and we both jumped in with the audio.

Euphoria tell the story about Nell Stone, her husband Fen, and Andrew
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Libby
Lily King creates very real to life characters in Schuyler Fenwick, Nell Stone, and Andrew Bankson, three anthropologists studying the native tribes of New Guinea in the 1930’s. Learning that the novel was inspired by Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson, three anthropologists who spent time on the Sepik River in New Guinea in 1933 added fuel to the fire of my enjoyment. I find the study of humans untouched by technology and with very little acquaintance with the accouterments of civi ...more
Idarah
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"She told me that the Tam believed that love grows in the stomach, and that they went around clutching their bellies when their hearts were broken. 'You are in my stomach,' was their most intimate expression of love.'"

I love books about anthropology, and in this historical fiction read, King takes the reader deep into the river villages of New Guinea in the 1930s. Andrew Bankston, an English anthropologist, has been studying a friendly river tribe for several years by himself. Overcome with lone
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Candi
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loosely based on the experiences of real-life anthropologists Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson, Euphoria is a captivating work of historical fiction. Set in the 1930’s Territory of New Guinea, the setting is exotic and the various cultures in the region are intriguing. I became immediately interested in learning about the tribes living along the Sepik River right along with the fictionalized characters Nell Stone and her husband Fen, and the depressed and isolated Andrew Bankson. ...more
❀Julie
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Judge a book by its cover? Absolutely with Euphoria! I was completely transported to the setting in New Guinea and three days after finishing I’m still thinking about it. The book is loosely based on the lives of anthropologists, Margaret Mead and her first and second husbands, and left me wanting to know more about each of them. I say loosely based because the author added her own twist to the story that tugged at my heartstrings. But regardless of who they were, I loved these fascinating chara ...more
Glenn Sumi
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don’t know much about cultural anthropology, and only vaguely recognize the name Margaret Mead (apparently her work is considered “old-fashioned” and “quaint” in current academic circles), but Lily King’s compact and brilliant novel has now made me curious about both.

The book was inspired by the few months in 1933 in which Mead, an American, her second husband Reo Fortune, an Australian, and Gregory Bateson (an Englishman, who would become her third husband) spent together on the Sepik River
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Dolors
Mar 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of bread, wine or both
Recommended to Dolors by: Many GR friends
Shelves: read-in-2020
***stay alert, spoilers below***

I can’t shake the feeling that I have failed this novel.
Being familiar with King’s electric writing style, I was truly excited to finally get to read her most recognized work which I had saved like a squirrel hoards acorns for the upcoming winter. Imagine my huge disappointment when I couldn’t, for the life of me, be fully drawn into the story.

Based on the life of Margaret Mead, King conducts a three narrative voice canon with expert hand. Set in the 30s in the ex
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Zoeytron
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
The flavor of a culture, the balance of nature.  Three anthropologists observing various tribes in New Guinea in the 1930's, based loosely on Margaret Mead and two others.  Bargaining with long dead ancestors for the health of loved ones.  Making a song out of all the names of the dead you have known.  The customs, rituals, and beliefs were fascinating.  If you ever have the misfortune to run out of good old Elmer's glue, it might be handy to know that fig sap will work nicely in a pinch.   
 
Ha
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Michael
I love the interplay between the personal and scientific outlooks on human nature in this fictional rendering of the life of Margaret Mead and her husband during their fieldwork living with a New Guinea tribe in the 30s. This is not historical fiction in the sense of trying to recreate a possibly real version of actual events, but a use of a historical figures and situations as a launching pad for an imagined story. How does the interplay between the subjective and objective work out for anthrop ...more
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

I hate books that waste their potential. The premise of Euphoria is excellent and could've been unlike anything else, but every single one of its plot points is underdeveloped. It paints an incomplete portrait of tribes in New Guinea and of an anthropologist’s fieldwork. The “passionate love triangle” promised in the summary is quite unpassionate and more of a side plot. This love triangle also doesn’t threaten the three main characters’ lives, careers, and bonds, as the summary
...more
Richard Derus
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 f
...more
Dianne
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2014
I loved this quiet, fascinating book about a love triangle between 3 anthropologists in New Guinea in the 1930’s. Lily King poignantly captures a moment in history where tribes and their cultures are still undiscovered, letters and journals are still handwritten and time flows thick as molasses. A deep breath inhaled and held, just before the world changes forever.

Lovely writing and a perfect, haunting ending.
Maureen
Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This novel was inspired by the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune and Gregory Bateson The threesome did research of tribes in New Guinea in 1933.
Nell and Fen are a married couple and meet Andrew Bankson at Christmas Party. Bankson agrees to accompany them to the Sepik River where there are known tribes so that they can do their research.
Bankson is in a very depressed state and has already tried to commit suicide.
Nell is a successful author, her husband Fen is very jealous of her a
...more
Bonnie Brody
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had trouble getting through this book. I found the story rather boring and the characters only partially developed. The historic significance of cultural anthropology in New Guinea during the 1930's was very interesting as was the protagonist's character being based on Margaret Mead. This created the groundwork for an interesting historical fiction.

Ms. King appears to have difficulty differentiating between an ethnographic field study as opposed to a treatise on a particular tribe. Ethnograph
...more
Iris P
Euphoria by Lily King
Euphoria

Please be aware that my review contain what could be considered spoilers!!!!

I read somewhere that Euphoria is a novel of ideas. At its center, the novel follows three young anthropologists and the very strange romantic triangle that takes place between them in the early 1930’s during a short period of time when their lives and careers intersected along the Sepik River in New Guinea.
Lily King based the main three characters, Nell Stone, Fenwick Schuyler & Andrew Bankson, on the lives
...more
Carol
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Hook - Just read the glowing reviews and you’ll understand why I had to read Euphoria. My sincere thanks also to our Adult Services Librarian, Cait, at my public library for her endorsement of this book.

The Line“But she was aware the story you think you know is never the real one.”

The Sinker – I don’t know much about Margaret Mead’s life except that she was a cultural anthropologist. Loosely based on Mead’s life, Euphoria may find me scrambling to learn more.

Anthropology is key here but
...more
Bianca
After reading Lily King's Writers and Lovers I was keen to explore Euphoria, which had been praised by many GR friends.

It's a small novel that packed a lot. Its setting was original and so was the plot. I don't recall ever reading a book set in Papua New Guinea and certainly not among the primitive tribes strewn about in the 1930s. My knowledge of cultural anthropology was very limited so I've learned something new which is always a bonus.

The main characters - Nell Stone, her husband Fen, and th
...more
Carol
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Mumbanyo kill their twins, she told me close to morning, because two babies meant two different lovers."

The remote villages of 1930's New Guinea really come to life in this descriptive story of three anthropologists who interview and document their interactions with native tribes as they live in their environment.

As relationships develop and dubious personalities show their true form, it becomes apparent there is evil in the air and danger on the way.....with one character in particular you

...more
Cathrine ☯️
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5★
I loved this exotic tale of three anthropologists in New Guinea during the 1930s. While they are observing, studying, and disrupting the lives of the tribes they are living amongst, the reader feels like a fourth character watching the dangerous fascinations, jealousy, and erotic tension that escalate between the two men and one woman. At only 256 pages that stealthily turn like a cat through the jungle, there is no superfluousness here. The wonderful pacing and prose keeps you reading in yo
...more
Laura
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It has been a while since I had the urge to literally bring a book to my chest and hold it there for a few moments after finishing it, but with this book I not only had the urge, I embraced it. (And therefore the book, because I am both literal and ridiculous.)

This is one of those rare books I feel compelled to order for my closest friends (Maria, consider yourself warned!) rather than just recommend, because it's just that good. The tone, like the prose itself, is gorgeous and evocative, the s
...more
Rebecca
“The story you think you know is never the real one.” What a great novel about the love triangle between three anthropologists (one American, one English, and one Australian) working among the tribes of Papua New Guinea in the 1930s. Apparently it’s based on the lives of Margaret Mead and two of her husbands, but knowledge of the real-life antecedents is unnecessary; this book is its own intense, self-contained world. Two other novels I’ve read in the past few years, The People in the Trees ...more
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Play Book Tag: Euphoria, by Lily King, 5 stars 12 20 Mar 31, 2021 12:43PM  
Play Book Tag: Euphoria by Lily King - 4 stars 5 18 Jan 17, 2021 09:38AM  
Wixom Public Libr...: June Discussion 1 7 May 15, 2020 10:07AM  
The Book of Sarah: #NOVEMBER: Euphoria- Final discussion 1 16 Dec 11, 2019 07:33AM  
Did we read this? 1 17 Jun 21, 2018 05:23AM  

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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's new novel, Euphoria, was released in June 2014. It has drawn significant acclaim so far, bei ...more

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