From my Reading Chair – Euphoria

Honestly, this book has sat on my bookshelf since I bought it…back in 2014 for Cocktail Bookclub. I picked it up last weekend as we were traveling back home and forgot my current read. 

It’s that moment about two months in, when you think you’ve finally got a handle on the place. Suddenly it feels within your grasp. It’s a delusion – you’ve only been there eight weeks – and it’s followed by the complete despair of ever understanding anything. But at that moment the place feels entirely yours. It’s the briefest, purest euphoria. – Nell to Bankston pg. 50

Euphoria is the story of three anthropologists that find themselves in a love triangle. In fact, Lily King was inspired by the stories of Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson and their time together on the Sepik. Fen and Nell are married and studying tribes in New Guinea when they meet up with Bankston. Right from the start, you begin to question Fen’s motives and treatment of Nell. Fen becomes increasingly obsessed with a ceremonial flute from one of the tribes, while Nell and Bankston focus on researching a tribe and creating a societal characteristics chart based on a compass. However, it isn’t truly clear who the love triangle is between as Lily King throws in supporting characters that make you question on if you’ve guessed the triangle correctly.

Our story starts off from Nell’s perspective but then turns to Bankston’s mixed in with Nell’s travel notes. There are a few times the story jumps to Bankston’s reminisces in the future – be prepared for some jumping in the story. However, you won’t find the narrative difficult to follow! Euphoria is a quick read. It was a nice change of pace from the Young Adult binge of been on – although, I’m about to start right in again on that with my Heartless read coming up next. Curse my Wonderland addiction.

This book will give you an overview of anthropology, provoke your thinking on gender roles, briefly explore homosexuality in the 1930’s, and break your heart at the end (well, it broke mine!).

I had two favorite quotes in the book. My favorite lines were the last paragraph of the story (yes, the paragraph) and to keep this spoiler free, I’ll leave it at that. My next was this:

And the man, who had no more strength left, let go and fell directly into his canoe and paddled home to share his wife, as all men did, with the moon. – pg. 252

I gave Euphoria 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Is it worth purchasing? Yes, Euphoria is a book you’ll enjoy on your bookshelf or even your coffee table as it does have a beautiful cover and the title is a conversation starter in and of itself.

Happy Reading!

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