Friday, April 29, 2016

Euphoria by Lily King

I'm having difficulty getting started with a post about Euphoria, so I'm going to go with Ye Olde Reliable Self-Interview. Today, I will be interviewed by a little silver bell that I keep near my computer. It makes a lovely, resonant ting-a-ling noise when you pick it up.

Little Silver Bell: Hello, and welcome to my very first literary interview. Today, I'll be asking Bookfool about Euphoria by Lily King. Good day to you, Bookfool.

Bookfool: Hey. Fancy intro.

LSB: Indeed. I'm British, you know. Why did you choose to read Euphoria?

BF: It was chosen as the April selection for discussion in my Face-to-Face book group, The Southern Cultural Heritage Book Club.

LSB: In less than 50 words, tell us what Euphoria is about.

BF: Euphoria is about three anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea. Andrew Bankson has been on his own and recently attempted suicide. Nell and Fen, a married couple, just abandoned one tribe (due to Nell's discomfort) and are looking for another tribe to study. Bankson helps Nell and Fen find a new tribe and falls for Nell.

LSB: Ah, the well-trodden love triangle. Have you read any other books about anthropologists that are written in a similar vein?

BF: No, in fact, apart from Carl Hoffman's Savage Harvest (non-fiction about headhunters) and a book about a plane that crashed on New Guinea during WWII, I haven't read much at all about the area and its people and I've missed many of the more popular titles like The Poisonwood Bible and State of Wonder, although reading Euphoria made me doubly anxious to get to them.

LSB: What did you like most about Euphoria?

BF:  Pretty much everything. I liked the interaction between Bankson and Nell and the tension that created between both of them and Fen. I liked the fact that the book was written with intelligence; it was a bit of a learning experience. Clearly Lily King did her research. I loved reading about how the anthropologists thought, what excited them, what they considered notable. I liked the descriptions of places and people and the unexpectedness of some of the scenes. And, I was grateful that, although the book is tragic, the author did a good job of forewarning without giving anything away. I liked the fact that it's not just tragic, as well; at least one character ends up living a happy, productive life.

LSB: Was there anything you disliked about Euphoria?

BF: Yes and no. I was left with a few questions and I don't like it when I'm not sure exactly what something meant or what happened. That can make for some interesting discussion, though, so it might have been a good thing that I had questions if I'd made it to the meeting, this month. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it.

LSB: I'm sorry to hear that. Will you recommend Euphoria to your friends?

BF: I already have. It was a 5-star read, for me, one I consider worth hanging onto for a future reread.

LSB: Any final thoughts?

BF: I like the little noise you make when I shake you. "Ting-a-ling-a-ling!" It's lovely.

LSB: I meant about the book. And, it should be noted that I am from the police constabulary. I make a manly ringing noise.

BF: Noted. So, last thoughts . . .  I read a little about Euphoria online and found that not only is it a book that has won a number of prizes and honors, but also "a feature film is underway" (from Lily King's website). I seldom watch movies made from favorite novels because I like to retain my own images from the reading but I think it's a worthy story so I'm happy about that. Thank you for interviewing me.

LSB: Ting-a-ling-a-ling

BF: No comment. Euphoria is going on the good shelves, where I keep my favorites. I loved it. And, I'm told the audio version is award-winning, for those who prefer audio.

©2016 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. This one caught my attention because it was based on Margaret Mead and her second and third husbands. I always thought the second one was creepy (Reo Fortune) because of one line in Mead's Blackberry Winter. I'm paraphrasing, but he liked to have her sitting in the room with him at all times, so she learned to sneak away for micro-intervals to wash a dish or something like that. His fictional counterpart is much more ominous, but didn't surprise me to see that. I need a silver bell of my own!

    1. Oh, wow, that would be exhausting having to be near someone all the time (says the introverted side of me). And, now I'll need to read Blackberry Winter. Fen is ominous, all right. I liked the way a single line from a native confirmed everything you needed to know and already suspected about Fen, at the end. That was nicely done.

      I got the bell at the Greenwich Market, about a half dozen years ago. You never know what you'll find at those British markets. They're loads of fun.

  2. I haven't heard of this one. I'm glad you found another favorite. I'll have to keep my eyes open for this one.

    1. If you do read it, let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  3. The audio was great!!


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