Euphoria (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Inspired by events in the life of Margaret Mead, this is the story of three anthropologists studying native culture on the Sepik River in the Territory of New Guinea in the 1930's, who become embroiled in a love triangle that ultimately threatens their lives. A riveting tale about passion, obsession and greed. — Amy Palmer

This is a deceptively simple novel. You think it is a loose novelization of the life of Margaret Mead and her loves (her great passion was her work); it is and it is not. This book is mostly from Mead's 3rd husband, Gregory Bateson's point of view and is fictionalized; whole episodes are creatively rendered. The book is truly about the complexity of human sexuality and human nature when it is under the scrutiny of reality; with all its beautiful and messy bits. What is reality when you are in the" field" rather than in a classroom ? "Euphoria" is graphically written story of how life can be bruising and more powerful when you are experiencing it outside the confines of "polite society and "Realty" versus test tube. I think King explores this concept beautifully but also demonstrates the strong and weak points of not only Mead's work but also of Fortune (her 2nd Husband and Bateson's research. The 3 were individual cultural anthropologists who at one time or another were each others research partners and as in this book - worked as a team. The characters are powerfully and truthfully drawn and their individual search for their ideal of "Euphoria". — Maeve Noonan

A stunning novel based on real people, but it transcends biography in dealing with the complex nature of love, sex and ambition. — Louise Jones

June 2014 Indie Next List

“Loosely based on Margaret Mead's time in Papua New Guinea, this engaging, insightful novel features three young anthropologists in the 1930s who studied the remote, primitive Sepik River tribes. Euphoria is about cutting-edge research and revolutionary ideas, but inevitably it is also about the complications within the scholars' relationships when societal norms are stripped away, and love, greed, jealousy, and control are left unfettered. Artfully narrated, alternating between first person and third person as well as journal entries, King's novel offers a unique view into these rich and complicated characters.”
— Katie McDougall, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List

Euphoria is a fascinating historical novel based on a complex woman. Science, culture, and nature collide. The beginnings of the study of anthropology were fraught with peril and make it a great jumping off point for discussion.”
— Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX


From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30's caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives.
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 nearby, 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 from accomplished author Lily King.

About the Author

Lily King's first novel, The Pleasing Hour won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second book, The English Teacher, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the Maine Fiction Award. Father of the Rain was a New York Times Editors' Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year, and winner of the 2010 New England Book Award for Fiction. Lily King lives with her family in Maine.

Praise For…

Praise for EUPHORIA

With Euphoria, Lily King gives us a searing and absolutely mesmerizing glimpse into 1930’s New Guinea, a world as savage and fascinating as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, where obsessions rise to a feverish pitch, and three dangerously entangled anthropologists will never be the same again. Jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. I loved this book.”Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802122551
ISBN-10: 0802122558
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: June 3rd, 2014
Pages: 256
Language: English