This is a short, but powerful novel; it packs an emotional wallop that sneaks up on you. EUPHORIA by Lily King unfolds in New Guinea (1930), as three anthropologists study the tribe where they are living. Inspired by the life of Margaret Mead, King gives a detailed picture of the customs and personalities of  the Tam, a tribe whose gender roles are mostly reversed. Tired and depressed from his own studies, an Englishman joins another couple (she is American, he is Australian) who are also worn down by the life they have chosen, while still inspired by their observations. A love triangle simmers, as we learn about the family histories of the three and the culture they are observing, as well as their independent ways of collecting and preserving the information.

King has written a complicated story – vivid and densely interwoven. Movie material, for sure…full of drama, information, emotion, and with clear connections to history, psychology , and sociology. An impressive accomplishment.


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