Lily King

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24 September 2015
272 pages

The New York Times Top Ten Besteller.
Winner of the 2014 Kirkus Prize for Fiction.

Inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months the trio are producing their best ever work, but soon a firestorm of fierce love and jealousy begins to burn out of control, threatening their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives . . .

'Dazzling' – Emma Donoghue, author of Room.

Pretty much perfect. It's a novel about a Margaret Mead-like character in New Guinea in the 30s, and it's so smart and rich and alive.

Curtis Sittenfeld, author of AMERICAN WIFE, Best Books of 2014

This dazzling novel bites like a tropical insect, and makes anthropology seem more exciting than any other profession

Emma Donogue, author of ROOM

Euphoria offers a brilliant reimagining of Mead's pioneering exploits . . . Most striking about Euphoria is the expertly weighted interplay between Mead's expedition and King's free-roaming imagination. Although the reality is thinly veiled it offers a volatile triangle for King to fill with an alternate history . . . The use of Stone's journal as a counterpoint to Bankson's perspective adds potency to his internalised affection for her, and it is King's ability to construct this latent passion, and the strain it places on Fen, that tantalises the reader so effectively . . . for periods in Euphoria it feels as if you are there, on the banks of the Sepik River, ready to strike out for the frontier and grapple with cultural understanding. Then you realise that King is expressing only what might have occurred, rather than what did. However, the artfulness of her characterisation is so adept that her prose has the force of truth.

Daily Telegraph