In my world Euphoria by Lily King has become known as the book that almost ruined Christmas. And just to be clear, that is a statement of high praise. Euphoria was so good I almost had to forgo speaking to my family, who I’d flown across the Atlantic to visit, until I had finished reading it. Every time someone attempted to talk to me I got nasty. It wasn’t pretty.
Euphoria is set in Papua New Guinea in the 1930s. To a large extent it is a fictionalization of the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead. Now I know that may not draw everybody in, but for me it is like brain candy. I have a think for early anthropology and this scratched all those itches.
But beyond that, I think the thing that really kept me going with Euphoria was the delicate power relations between a couple where the woman was considerably more talented and well-known that the man. Through exploring this dynamic, King has crafted a story of love, intrigue, manipulation and discovery. It was a serious page turner that forced me to snub my family.
Who would like this book? This is an obvious no brainer for those who enjoy a story with an anthropological bent. I would also highly recommend it to anyone who like Savage Harvest, which is true account of an anthropological excursion to Papua New Guinea. And it should be noted that both Euphoria and Savage Harvest were two of my favorite books of 2014.