• XX Chromosomes

Euphoria by Lily King

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“And maybe I will never find it all in one culture but maybe I can find parts of it in several cultures, maybe I can piece it together like a mosaic and unveil it to the world.”

The messy romantic lives and expeditions of three controversial, gifted, groundbreaking 1930’s anthropologists Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson entangled by a shared absorbing passion.

“When only one person is the expert on a particular people, do we learn more about the people or the anthropologist when we read their analysis?”

Euphoria is one fascinating read. The tribes described and of course, the lead female protagonist was modeled after Margaret Mead, with this alone how could it not be anything but fascinating.

“You have to pay much more attention when you can’t understand the words. Once comprehension comes, so much else falls away…words aren’t always he most reliable thing.”

King sweeps you off to the remote depths of the jungle in Papua, New Guinea. You learn of tribal rituals, customs and beliefs combined with interaction creating an educational and engrossing narrative. I can only imagine the length of research King invested to create such a dynamic storyline, very well researched, no way aspects could be fudged. The story covers a lot of territory: jealousy, betrayal, competition, imagination, greed and forbidden love. King displays fluid prose with a stirring character roughly based on illustrious Margaret Mead and her second and third husbands, all outstanding in their own light. Nell and her husband Fen have a challenging relationship with plenty of career jealousy and yet supportive stance all stemming from Fen. All three characters are competent and deserving of merit creating a competitive drive within all three.

A gripping emotional read I completely enjoyed. King showcased her originality and creativity with Euphoria.

Published June 3rd 2014 by Atlantic Monthly Press
Pages 253
ISBN13: 9780802122551

Recommendation: 4/5

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