READ: Euphoria by Lily King

I finished Euphoria last week, and I am still thinking about it. Good books leave lasting impressions. They enter our dreams, thoughts, and become a part of our psyche.

Like The Paris Wife (Paula McLain) & Loving Frank (Nancy Horan), the premise of this novel comes from real events and real people. The main characters in Euphoria, Fen, Nell, and Andrew, are based on Margaret Mead and two of her lovers. It is a fictionalized account of time they spent studying New Guinea tribes in the 1930’s.

This short novel is densely packed with vivid descriptions of the tribes of New Guinea. Cannibalism, sexual rituals, human sacrifices. Bugs, illness, the darkness of the night, tropical sicknesses.

Fen, Nell, and Andrew are all anthropologists studying the culture and the people.th They are pioneers in the science of anthropology (the study of humans) which was in its infant stages. Techniques for the new science were being developed – how do personal opinions skew results, results can be interpreted in many ways, what methodologies should be used, egos. At one point, in a frenzy, the three main characters create a grid that places people in groups. They believe they have captured all humans with their mapping. But, these ideas and characterizations they have captured were used in ways they never anticipate because results are always subject to interpretation.

The three characters are slowly revealed in the novel. They aren’t entirely likable, but they are interesting despite their flaws. They form a unique love triangle filled with tension, passion, and devotion. More than anything, Andrew wants to learn to be an anthropologist so he soaks up all of the information that he can from them. Nell/Margaret Mead takes the science of anthropology very serious and her bravery is admirable.  And Fen…well, he reminds me of some people in academia that I have encountered.

Humanity takes so many different, mind-boggling forms.  Euphoria explores our flawed, and beautiful, existence.

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The Deepak/Oprah challenge 3 week meditation challenge, EXPANDING YOUR HAPPINESS started on Monday. You can catch up with it.

Make this Cilantro Chile Almond Dip and these Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Listening to Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Phenomenal. How am I just reading (listening) to this book? Pick this book up right away if you haven”t read it.  It explores medicine, siblings, love, Africa, India, family dynamics, politics…the characters are incredible. I have 2 more CD’s left of the book and I don’t want it to end.

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2 thoughts on “READ: Euphoria by Lily King”

  1. I am going to start reading Cutting for Stone soon. This book sounds good too! That dip looks delish! Did you use the Vitamix?

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