Euphoria
by Lily King
Paperback- $8.80

A New York Times Bestseller Winner of the 2014 Kirkus Prize Winner of the 2014 New England Book Award for Fiction A Finalist for the National Book ...

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  "Euphoria" by Beachbum13 (see profile) 05/25/15

It was just okay! Pulled a lot of information from different sources on Meade but didn't delve into that info.

 
  "I felt like an anthropologist analyzing the anthropologists behavior!" by thewanderingjew (see profile) 07/05/15

Euphoria, Lily King, narrators Simon Vance, Xe Sands
This very well narrated novel is loosely based on the life and lifestyle of Margaret Mead during the time she studied the ethnography of certain tribes in the environs of Papua, New Guinea, on the Sepik River. In the novel, Nell Stone, an American (she is based loosely on Margaret Mead), studies the different societies from the point of view of the subjects, but her husband Schuyler Fenster, an Englishman, who goes by the nickname of Fen (he is based loosely on Reo Fortune) appears to study society from the points of view he first assumes and then attempts to apply to his subjects. The third anthropologist in the novel is Andrew Bankson (Bankson as he is called, is loosely based on the character of Mead’s third husband, Gregory Bateson), admires Nell’s focus and ability to organize her research. Where her husband is jealous of her success, he seeks to learn and grow from it, becoming inspired by her brilliance. He is very lonely working alone in the field. When Nell and Fen meet up with Bankson as they are traveling to Australia, returning from the study of a violent tribe called the Mumbanyos, they are both ill with fever, malarial symptoms and lesions of all types. Fen ignores his discomfort but it lays Nell low. Bankson insists on caring for them and their relationship and friendship buds from that point on.
The novel veers from historic reality as it develops, although the lifestyle of Mead is incorporated into the character of Nell, who is not clearly defined sexually, although she desires children; she cares for both men and women and believes that deep love is gender free and that the different mores about sex, life and death, are learned in the environment within which the tribe one lives. She, like Mead was a trailblazer, introducing theories about human culture that had not before been known or embraced.
Nell’s husband, Fen, has not enjoyed the success of his wife who has published a successful book, and he is consumed with jealousy and a need to out do her at all costs. His feelings for her become compromised by his insecurities and it is intimated that her various injuries are caused by violence that quietly seethes within him. Bankson, on the other hand is gentle and withdrawn, actually he is also depressed and almost suicidal, at times. It is Nell who gives him the desire to live. Though he is seemingly without the best social skills, he immediately, upon catching sight of Nell, becomes enraptured with her and can think of nothing else. Eventually, they find it easy to communicate with each other and their affection blossoms. The three characters, were dominated and driven by the ideas they kept from each other, and that caused irrevocable changes to their lives. Jealousy and secrets grew too important and too dangerous to hide any longer, but they learned too late.
Superstitions, spells and the magical quality of the rituals guiding the tribe’s lives, in their day to day behavior, become important to the anthropologists, and the influence of that behavior on them is detailed in the book. As the anthropologists go about studying these foreign cultures, they are often surprised by the peacefulness of some and the belligerence of others. They also take particular notice of the easygoing relationship these natives have with sex, life and death. Their behavior gives these researchers the idea that their attitudes about sex, death and life are either learned or environmental. The freedom to choose seems to be a feature in these cultures and they go back and forth from one sex to another with abandon, in some rituals.
While we readers observed the professionals studying how the natives interacted, we morphed into quasi-anthropologists as we, in turn, studied the anthropologists as they interacted with each other, influenced by their environment and cultural backgrounds. It was an interesting contrast of two worlds which exhibited interesting commonalities and differences in behavior. In both worlds, there is rivalry and jealousy as well as welcoming hospitality and genuine affection for each other. In some cases, I felt as if the conclusions drawn by the anthropologists were too general, not allowing for individual differences in behavior in the natives, which they often allowed and recognized in their own society. Every society, no matter how advanced or backward, seems to have a group that is influenced somewhat by superstitions and odd beliefs, some even going so far as believing in spells and amulets to protect them and ward off danger.
On a really positive note, this book made me look further into the lives the story was based on and it was truly enlightening.

 
  "Euphoria" by bclarkgreene (see profile) 07/09/15

Inspired by events from the life of Margaret Mead, Euphoria tells the story of 3 anthropologists in New Guinea in the 1930s. Explores ideas about cultures, balance and meaningful work as well as romantic relationships and conflict between possessiveness and freedom in love. Characters very well drawn and fascinating information about life in native cultures in New Guinea. Lots to discuss.

 
  "" by snordel (see profile) 08/19/15

Surprising storyline placed in an exotic setting featuring complex characters. I prefer to be informed as well as entertained. Euphoria is historical, scientific, and fascinating. I LOVED it!

King is an excellent writer who did a lot of research. Euphoria is not a novel just spun out of someone\\\'s imagination. Suggestion: Go to her website before starting novel for a great video to stimulate your interest and to gain useful background knowledge.Google her name to find her website.

 
  "" by lynnephillips (see profile) 10/09/15

 
  "So much to discuss!" by Kwizgiver (see profile) 10/16/15

We had quite a lively discussion about this book.

 
  "Euphoria" by Heidiholderied (see profile) 10/20/15

Love the heroine except that she stays with an asshole of a husband.

 
  "An Abrupt Ending" by phesselbart (see profile) 11/21/15

Several of our group members had trouble getting into the book, finally started to like it and then felt dropped in the end. The characters were well drawn, and the whole idea was a new one for most of us. Middle of the road for our club.

 
  "Raises many good issues for discussion" by cgbuys (see profile) 01/21/16

Euphoria made for great discussion. What is the "right" way to approach and study other cultures? Who had the better approach?

 
  "" by dianejray (see profile) 02/02/16

 
  "Will generate lots of good discussion" by CleoM (see profile) 02/22/16

Original idea, distinctive characters – definitely not stock types, exotic location in New Guinea.
Not a page turner till the end but intriguing and thought provoking. Didn’t really feel engaged with the novel till the final third – not sure if it was the writing or the irritating characters. Really feel the heat, bugs and bare bones living conditions – no glamorizing the life of an anthropologist in remote areas. The interplay between the characters jockeying for the upper hand professionally and romantically is handled very well with some startling revelations along the way. Well worth reading.

 
  "Euphoria" by LMCamp (see profile) 03/14/16

The story was unique in the characters, anthropologist and the people they studied as well as part of the world. My book club had a lively & sustained discussion about this book on several topics. It was a fun & interesting read and discuss.

 
  "" by lindakboyle (see profile) 05/12/16

 
  "Euphoria" by Robinb (see profile) 05/19/16

It was an ok read but I kept waiting for the story to emerge. Sometimes the story being told from different persons was a bit confusing

 
  "" by tgilbert54 (see profile) 06/21/16

 
  "" by halina (see profile) 07/14/16

 
  "Intellectual Intercourse" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/18/16

This characters in this love story connect on several levels of the human condition.... there was an emotional connection, an intellectual connection and a physical connection. One of our Book club members described the discussions between Nell and Bankston as passionate intellectual intercourse. That sums it up pretty darn good.

 
  "Great Historical Fiction" by cjgreen (see profile) 08/24/16

Beautifully written story.

 
  "Euphoria" by Pcartier (see profile) 09/13/16

I found the book's setting interesting and the characters complex but also found it confusing at times

 
  "Euphoria" by wlreader (see profile) 10/18/16

Interesting and informative but not a great read. Glad we read it but couldn't be enthusiastic about recommending it.

 
  "" by KarenUK (see profile) 10/27/16

 
  "Euphoria" by ccroft78248 (see profile) 12/11/16

Great book! Looking forward to my book club discussion! I did not expect the ending.

 
  "" by phoebe.terry (see profile) 03/22/17

 
  "" by gelczis (see profile) 03/27/17

 
  "" by rwhitman01 (see profile) 05/08/17

 
  "Euphoria" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/19/17

Interesting book, found the setting and background fascinating, wasn't particularly fond of the characters though. Good descriptions about tribes, locations, types of rituals and general information on anthropology. Not sure I would recommend this book, but it was a quick read and was on a topic I have never read about before and did find interesting. Ending was a surprise.

 
  "" by positively (see profile) 06/19/17

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/17/17

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 02/12/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/27/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/12/18

I found the beginning slow, but the end was worth every bit of the slow beginning.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 11/14/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 03/18/20

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